Skype Getting the Snapchat Treatment with New Highlights Feature

Skype have started rolling out their latest update on Android devices and this time around it's a big one.

Microsoft announced the news in a blog post last Thursday which outlined all the changes coming to the app, including the introduction of a brand new feature - Highlights. This allows users to share their favourite photos or videos from the day in one place for all their friends and family to look at and respond to with a range of emoticons. The media remains in Highlights for seven days before it's erased.

Does that sound familiar?

It's essentially the same feature first introduced by Snapchat four years ago and later replicated by other social media sites like Instagram. Highlights doesn't bring anything particularly new to the party and has sparked complaints over the copycat nature of the update, much like Facebook did when it introduced the feature earlier this year. However, it's become so common across social media that it's seems more of an expectation than anything these days.

Alongside Highlights, Microsoft have also implemented plenty of visual tweaks and improvements to Skype's chat function, a feature which once took a backseat to the app's phone and video calling service. Their updated look has a brighter, more colourful interface that's attractive to a younger audience and fits nicely with the emoji icons that are now more prominent on the app (and the whole of the internet). The company wants its users to have more expressive and personalised conversations by allowing them to customise their Skype with their favourite colours and respond with a wide range of emoticons and stickers.

Conversations now also come with the addition of chat bots through the use of the "Find" panel which can help you book flights, find recipes and check ticket prices just to name a few. Making plans is now a whole lot easier.

By giving their chat function an overhaul, Microsoft have now put Skype on par with popular social media channels where these features have been a basic element of their success. It's nothing revolutionary, but with Facebook Messenger's video-chat feature competing against Skype's primary selling point, and social media sites offering communication quickly and easily without being face-to-face, Skype have had to find ways to maintain their relevance in this ever-changing digital age.

Now they just need to find a way to set themselves apart from the crowd.

While the update is only currently available on Android, the new version is expected to hit iPhone and desktop in the the coming weeks and months.

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