Skype is overhauling its desktop interface with new features and a refreshed design, bringing in a much needed change to the calling app. The company has rolled out Skype Preview for desktop users with features like enhanced group calls, new chat media gallery, @mentions, message reactions, and a new notification panel.
The Skype Preview app is available for Mac, Windows 10 November Update and lower, Windows 8, and Windows 7 users. Some of the features are already rolling out for users with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, however the full roster should arrive for everyone soon. As of now, Skype Preview, as the name suggests, is in its testing phase, with Microsoft looking for feedback on the same.
The new Skype Preview desktop version puts chats in the forefront, with group calls getting new features like real-time screen and photo sharing for more fun interaction. In group calls, there's the new in-call live reactions feature that allows you to express with emojis, and there's also the drag and drop feature for sharing media content with the members of the call.
There's a new notification panel that gives you all the updates of your friends and family, and the calls and messages you missed and received. You can also now quickly jump back into conversations where you were @mentioned to see how people reacted to what you've said, rather than scrolling through the whole long chat. Skype Preview also has a new way to find shared content like links, documents, and media from earlier with the new chat gallery feature.
As of now, if you want to experience the new features on compatible devices, you need to download Skype Preview by registering on Skype Insider. The company notes that "Skype Preview will install alongside Skype classic, making it easy to switch back if needed. However, we recommend running one instance of Skype at a time so that you don't get duplicate notifications for messages or calls."
Devices with the Windows 10 Anniversary update are getting features like message reactions, sharing of media content, and making recent conversations available at the top of the screen for better discovery, in their stable Skype app.