Skype has introduced new versions of its desktop clients today, and these new apps represent a dramatic change for users of the previous versions. Skype 7 for Mac is now the primary stable version, and the new preview of Skype for Windows shares the same design language, for those who want to check it out before its general consumer release.
The Skype redesign won’t be completely shocking if you’ve been using Skype on mobile – all the design language here resembles what came to iPhone in Skype 5.0 in June, including chat bubbles in varying shades of soft blue, rounded contact avatars, better notifications – and a new emphasis on chat, which is increasingly important to Skype, even though it built its early success on VoIP and video communication.
Skype’s new look will definitely take some getting used to on the desktop, but once you grow accustomed to the big aesthetic changes, the small functional ones are what really impress. For instance, now in your chat window you’ll be able to view shared image files instantly in-line once they download, instead of having to click a little icon to view or preview them.
The Windows versions has increase spacing between your contacts list and your chat, which is actually something I want less of on the Mac version (give me the ability to minimize the conversation drawer even further, please, without removing it completely), and there are message previews for things you haven’t read yet, so you can get a quick look without even switching between chats.
I’m generally pretty happy with the new look for Skype, and the inline images and reformatted chat conversations make it a much better text communication tool. The app also now makes it much easier to have chat conversations alongside a video or voice call, which is great for podcasting using it. It’s a free update, and it’s available now, so it’s well worth grabbing.