×

Skype just got a massive makeover with Snapchat features — here's a first look

  • Skype received a massive makeover on Thursday.
  • It now has improved group chat.
  • But the biggest feature is probably "Highlights" which is a lot like Snapchat.

CNBC Tech: Skype makeover 5
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Skype got a huge makeover on Thursday that adds a lot of features to help it better compete with heavy hitters in the chat market — like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and even Snapchat.

Skype talked a bit about new group chat features, which are compelling enough thanks to new chat add-ons like Giphy, but the meat of this makeover is what makes it similar to Snapchat.

A new "Highlights" feature lets you record your day with photos and video clips. Highlights can be posted to be viewed by all or by select folks. Sound familiar? That's because it's exactly what Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook already offer. Crowded market for sharing our lives, isn't it?

Skype isn't losing its heart, though, which is video connectivity between friends. That's still there. Let's take a look at what's new but, before we do, a quick note that this is only rolling out to Android now and will be available for iPhones soon.

This is the first screen you'll see after signing in. You can choose either a colorful chat theme or a black and white one. I'm going colorful.

CNBC Tech: Skype makeover
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Now you'll choose another color. I'm not sure how this differs from the first option but here we go.

CNBC Tech: Skype makeover 2
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Here's the new home screen. It's split into Highlights (the stories you and your friends can share), chats and capture. The capture tab is what lets you snap pictures and videos for your highlights.

CNBC Tech: Skype makeover 3
Todd Haselton | CNBC

I'm creating content for my Highlights.

CNBC Tech: Skype makeover 4
Todd Haselton | CNBC

And a quick video clip for good measure. You can add all sorts of emoji and text.  Is it too early for a beer?

CNBC Tech: Skype makeover 5
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Here's the new group chat page.

CNBC Tech: Skype makeover 6
Todd Haselton | CNBC

I can share video clips, my location, and even video call everyone. There are also chat add-ons, though not many. Giphy is probably the most fun, or YouTube.

CNBC Tech: Skype makeover 7
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Skype desperately needed this refresh. While Microsoft has worked to improve it over recent years, it felt stale in comparison with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

The Snapchat-like features are neat, but I really don't think anyone is going to use them. Maybe I'm wrong, but with Instagram and Snapchat already owning that market, I don't see much of a reason to come here to share parts of your day.

CNBC Tech: Skype makeover 5
Todd Haselton | CNBC

It works well though, and that's really all that matters if Microsoft wants to try to create a base of users. Android users should be able to find the new Skype app in the Google Play store now.