Microsoft released the latest update to its IM and video call app Skype on Thursday that brought a complete overhaul to the app. Most significantly, the revamped app now makes the camera just one swipe away from the chats, encouraging users to snap more pictures to share with each other. The app also added a Highlights section, which functions very similar to the Story feature that was popularized by Snapchat and imitated by Facebook’s messaging platforms.
What Brands Need To Do
It seems unlikely this overhaul alone is enough to put Skype back into competition with the other popular consumer messaging and social apps, given that it has neither the user base or engagement that its competitors have. Last year, Microsoft shared that Skype has 300 million monthly active users when it introduced bots to the chat platform, an initiative that has gained little traction over the past year. In comparison, Facebook Messenger recently hit 1.2 billion monthly users, while Snapchat, an app much younger than Skype, now has over 166 million daily active users.
Nevertheless, this update underlines Microsoft’s intention to bring Skype up to speed in the messaging space and better cater to the shifting consumer preference towards ephemeral sharing. It also points to a larger trend in mobile UX design where the camera start to take the center stage as it increasingly becomes an input source for capturing content and understanding user intent.
For more information on how brands may tap into the rapid development in camera-based mobile AR features to create engaging customer experiences, please check out the Advanced Interfaces section of our Outlook 2017.
Header image courtesy of Skype