Skype for web has just emerged from the workshop with a bunch of new features that include HD video calling and the ability to record calls.
To use the new features from any desktop, you’ll need to be running Windows 10 or MacOS 10.12 (Sierra) or later, together with the most recent version of Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome.
Skype for web launched in 2015 and allows anyone with a Microsoft account to do video and voice calls, and message friends, without having to download any software. You can even invite people without a Microsoft account to join a conversation simply by sending them a unique link.
New features rolled out on Thursday, March 7 include one-to-one or group video calls in high definition. They now allow for call reactions, too, which let you throw stuff like emoticons, photos, and live text onto the screen in a few clicks.
Call recording was late coming to Skype for mobile and desktop, arriving only six months ago (here’s how to do it). Now the web version has it, too, so you can record chats with loved ones or important work meetings.
There’s also an updated notifications panel that lets you quickly keep track of anything you might’ve missed. “Click the bell icon to see reactions to your messages, @mentions in group conversations, or if someone quoted you — all in one central place,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the refreshed version of Skype for web.
An improved search feature also makes it easier to locate messages in the current conversation by typing the word or phrase that you want to find in the search box.
Finally, the Chat Media Gallery stores files, links, and photos that were shared in a conversation, whether it took place the day before or months ago. Whereas before you had to spend time scrolling through your chat history looking for the content, now you can simply click Gallery under the chat name to see all the files, links, and photos in the conversation.
“Skype has always been about bringing people together,” the company said in its blog post. “We continue to be driven by the opportunity to connect our global community of hundreds of millions of users, empowering them to feel closer and achieve more together.”
Skype has been around years and is still one of the most popular video chat services available. Since Microsoft acquired it for $8.5 billion in 2011, the team has been adding a steady stream of features in a bid to compete with the likes of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other messaging and social media apps that feature chat services. Notable additions to Skype in recent months include a blur-background feature to hide distracting surroundings, and a live-captioning service aimed at providing a more inclusive experience for Skype users, particularly those who are deaf or hard of hearing.