Browser-based version of Skype widens beta reach, global availability expected in weeks
Microsoft has opened up Skype for Web to more users, pulling it out of the closed beta and making it available to all current Skype users based in the United States or the United Kingdom. The widening of beta access follows after another web-based Skype change, namely a redesign of how Skype for Outlook.com appears and works for users of the browser-based webmail client.
Real-time voice-based Skype translation available in English, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin
Microsoft is making its Skype Translator available to all users of the video messaging service. Open to everyone, instead of being available to people signing up to take part in the preview, the tool provides near real-time translation of spoken languages, allowing participants to easily speak to each other with little in the way of additional conversational gaps between participants.
Microsoft barred from registering european trade mark for Skype
Microsoft has suffered a second trademark-related blow from satellite broadcaster Sky, following a second ruling against the software producer in an EU court. The ruling declared that the Skype name is too similar to Sky's own trademark, and therefore could easily confuse consumers signing up for the service, expecting something produced by the broadcaster.
Good podcasts are a lot of work, but can bring fame, acclaim
Last Wednesday on Pointers, we talked about the many reasons one might want to do some voice-oriented recording of a more serious nature on one's Mac or iOS device, such as interviews or as part of creating a YouTube video. We also made some entry-level recommendations on decent mics (the built-in mic on most Macs is fine for FaceTime calls, but its limitations show up quickly when trying to do something professional-sounding) and capturing software. This time around, we'll talk about the mechanics of making a podcast.
Skype updates its iPhone app, features improved dialer, new chat picker
Communication platform Skype has released an update for its iPhone app today, bringing the latest version to 5.9. Featuring user interface improvements, the app's revised dial pad now suggests contacts with matching numbers as a number is entered. The newly-added "chat picker" aims to make starting conversations easier; once a contact is chosen, users can tap the phone or video icon at the top to start a call.
Profiles still suffering from CPU issues
Microsoft has released a minor update to Skype for Mac, v7.2. The software mainly copes with several bugs, including crashes caused by changing a profile picture, playing the test sound in the Welcome tour, and/or launching Skype with Ecamm Call Recorder 2.5.11 installed. It also deals with Call and SMS buttons not working on a contact's profile page.
Allows chats, video calls without dedicated client
Microsoft has launched a beta of Skype for Web, a clientless version of its communications platform. Users can make video calls, send instant messages, and manage contacts via a browser; at the moment though, the beta is invitation-only for a small group of people. Microsoft says it plans to expand access globally "in the coming months."
Year-long subscriptions for Office 365 Home, Skype, Xbox Live, Xbox Music included
Microsoft has created a bundle for customers in the United States, collecting together subscriptions for the company's various online services. The Work & Play Bundle, sold through Microsoft Stores in the United States for a limited time, gives users an entire year of usage for its entertainment and productivity-related services at a discount.
Doodles can be added to photos and shared with friends, sign in improvements
Microsoft has announced the new 2.24 update for Skype for Windows Phone today, bringing some small improvements to the application. In addition to the tweaks, the program had a significant feature appended to it. Users now have the ability to create drawings, or doodle on pictures to share with friends and family members.
Email client Mailbox for Mac now available as public beta
Mailbox has officially released its beta versionemail client for OS X this week, now available to all. Mailbox for iOS arrived last year, offering a simplistic interface that aims to improve inbox organization. Mailbox for Mac is similar in design, and features controls to archive and delete email, as well as create lists and enable a "snooze" functionality. The app includes swipe gesture and hotkeys options. Those interested in downloading the beta version of Mailbox for Mac can do so for free through Mailbox.
Video messages sent on Skype Qik self-destruct after two weeks
Microsoft is adding another messaging service to its roster, this time using video clips. Skype Qik, reusing the brand of a service Skype acquired in 2011 before Microsoft purchased Skype, is a lightweight app that allows users to record video messages up to 42 seconds in length, which can then be sent to a friend or a group for viewing.
Also adds chat sync across devices
Microsoft-owned Skype has released Skype for Mac 7.0. The software brings with it a major redesign, matching the look of OS X Yosemite, and borrowing interface cues from a recent iPhone app update. The most significant change, however, may be a split-screen view during voice and video calls that lets people see and send instant messages at the same time.
Chrome and Skype for iOS updated for iOS 8
The recent release of iOS 8 has instigated a flood of apps releasing revamps for the new operating system, with today bringing updates from Google's Chrome, and Microsoft's Skype. The Google Chrome browser for iOS allows users to sync their open tabs and bookmarks across devices, search by voice, translate web pages and more. Chrome v.37.0.2 now supports using third-party App Extensions to post and share content, adds iOS 8 compatibility, and other stability improvements and bug fixes.
Google officially extends app refund window from 15 minutes to 2 hours
Google has extended the opportunity to receive a refund from purchases in the Google Play Store to two hours. Android Central notes the support page for the store has been updated to show the upgraded refund period for apps and games, up from the previous 15-minute limit. It is understood that Google offered the longer refund window to some customers over the last few weeks, and has only just made the policy official recently.
Skype for iPhone adds group audio calling feature
Social communication platform Skype has updated its iPhone app, allowing users to now start a group audio call. Any chat, audio call or video call can be turned into a group audio call with up to four people. Free to download, Skype for iPhone requires iOS 7.0 or later to run.
Chat notifications hidden on unused devices if Skype in use elsewhere
Microsoft has updated the way Skype handles some of its notifications for multiple devices. As part of wider ongoing effort to improve the way Skype synchronizes messages between clients on different devices and systems, the Active Endpoint feature will only deliver chat notifications to the device currently being used, rather than to all logged-in devices.
VoIP service continues coping with backlash
A version of Skype compatible with OS X Leopard is in development, a company spokesperson now says. "We have a Skype version for Mac OS X 10.5 users which will soon be available for download," the person states. The release will not however be compatible with anything older, such as OS X Tiger.
Possibility of Leopard-compatible update uncertain
Microsoft-owned Skype has, without warning, cut off support for users with OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or earlier, reports say. The company has given instructions on how to update the client software, but users say they don't appear to fix the problem. A spokesperson explains that the company doesn't "currently have a build that OS X Leopard (10.5) users could use."
Skype update allows linking of phonebook with Microsoft account
Microsoft has made a few changes to Skype for Android, adding the option to connect the smartphone's address book to the service. At the same time, Microsoft has revealed it is releasing a version of the messaging app client for Amazon's Fire Phone, one which will take advantage of the smartphone's home screen and graphical effects.
Skype rolls out iPhone app update, re-introduces voice-message support
Microsoft has released v5.2 of the iPhone version of its Skype app. Users can now receive recorded messages from when they are offline within a conversation stream, and it can be listened to directly. User profiles can be viewed from one's contacts, displaying status, username, location and more. Additionally, participants can be added to existing conversations through the main menu on the bottom right-hand side. Skype v5.2 is free to download through iTunes.
Skype to discontinue support for older versions of its Mac desktop clients
Online communications platform Skype has announced its plans to discontinue support for older versions of its desktop clients. Including Skype for Mac, the versions being phased out are v6.14 and older. The discontinuation aims to ensure feature compatibility across its versions of the software, and facilitate future innovations on a consistent base. The latest version, which can be downloaded via an in-app update or downloaded directly from Skype, offers newly-added features such as offline messaging.
Skype re-released on iTunes for iPhone, features new design
Microsoft has re-released Skype for iOS, featuring a clean redesign, new gestures and more. As previously reported, v5.0 of Skype includes a new modern hub-centric design that prioritizes recent conversations; users can swipe to see their favorite people or contacts. Messaging is more reliable, and users can create groups, share photos to offline contacts, and exchange video messages. In-app notifications for quick conversation switching is also available, and controls can manage the frequency of what one is notified about. Skype can be downloaded through iTunes for devices running iOS 7.0 or later.
Skype removed from App Store in prep for all-new 5.0 for iPhone version
Although Skype continues to be a popular and widely-used service for Apple device owners, there is no shortage of complaints about the look of the app -- particularly the Mac version, which didn't cease when Microsoft took over development when it bought Skype. The company has now begun pulling the current version of Skype out of the iOS App Store as it begins to roll out the all-new version 5.0, which has specifically been created for iOS and the iPhone.
Update happening next week
Microsoft's Skype division has announced an impending redesign of its iPhone/iPod touch app, v5.0. The title should have a cleaner interface that's easier to navigate, in part through the introduction of Windows Phone-style swipe gestures that flip between tabs. Buttons at the bottom of the interface jump into the dialer or a list of open chats.
Skype to offer voice translation, beta expected late this year
Microsoft today announced its plans to release a real-time translation of voice conversations using Skype. Skype Translator will allow users to speak in their native language to another user who speaks a different language, with the software automatically translating it to the other person. The beta is anticipated to be released later this year, with its commercial availability estimated for debut within the next two and a half years. In its current development stage, translation can convert between English to German. The translation service may be a paid feature.
E-mail sorting, an undo feature, in-line replies and chat options among updates
Microsoft spelled out some new features for Outlook.com today on their Office blog page about improvements to e-mail features and other connectivity. An advanced rules feature to sort e-mails and three other updates made their way to the online e-mail client ahead of Office 365 adoption.
All platforms to open up in near future
Group video calls on Skype are now free for users on Windows desktops, OS X, and the Xbox One, according an announcement by the Microsoft-owned service. The company in fact says it intends to make group calls free across all platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and the Windows 8 "Metro" interface. A precise timetable hasn't been revealed.
Broadcast industry standard inputs, updated interface for Skype use on television
Microsoft has unveiled a version of its Skype messaging service designed for broadcasters. Skype TX is called a "studio-grade" software born from its acquisition of broadcast partner Cat and Mouse, which is said to provide a high level of hardware and software integration of Skype into the studio environment for video connections outside the studio.
Global launch allows Skype use within browser
Outlook.com users across the world will be able to use Skype from within their browser, Microsoft has revealed. Previously tested with a small number of users in the US and UK, the service allows all users of the e-mail service to make video calls, audio calls, and send messages to other Skype users, all from within the Outlook.com inbox.
Nadella calls leadership consolidation 'go-forward approach'
Adding to a previous shuffle, Microsoft has made public a pair of high-profile executive departures as new CEO Satya Nadella takes the helm of the company. Tony Bates, the ex-CEO of Skype, and Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Marketing Tami Reller will be "pursuing other interests outside the company."
Messages to offline Skype users included in app update
Microsoft has finally fixed the way Skype synchronizes messages across multiple devices, the company has revealed, something that it hinted at late last year. Part of a larger update across multiple platforms, the change will allow users to read all received messages on an account regardless of whether a device is signed in or not, with messages read on one device causing it to be shown as read on all others.
RealSense will use embedded 3D cameras to allow for NII interface
Intel's CES press conference on Tuesday focused on the interaction between man and machine, thanks to an embedded 3D camera the company has developed in conjunction with a number of hardware partners. The devices Intel will integrate the technology into include 2-in-1 tablets, ultrabooks, touch-enabled all-in-one PCs, and other mobile devices.
Update lets Skype users keep chatting in other apps
Skype has rolled out an update to its Android app that lets tablet users continue to video chat even when they have gone into other apps. The new picture-in-picture feature pops up a small Skype window that persists even as a user moves away from the main Skype app. The update also contains a number of other additions, as well as fixes to assorted compatibility issues.
Skype traffic in China flows directly through Microsoft servers
Microsoft has moved to a new partner for providing Skype in China, one that could help improve privacy in the region. The messaging service will now be operated by Guangming Founder instead of TOM Online, with some reports suggesting that the move could potentially offer greater protections to users in China from monitoring by the country's government.
Call states, message notifications to synchronize in Skype in future
Microsoft will be making some changes to Skype, in order to address a number of problems on the messaging platform. Skype product manager Jeff Kunins revealed that the company is testing updates that will allow for full message synchronization across multiple devices, among a number of other items set to improve the service overall.
Call recording, Skype-specific hardware to continue working through API
Microsoft has altered its plan of ending support for its Skype Desktop API, following feedback from users. Compatibility with Skype-enabled hardware and call recording apps will continue to be offered in the communications tool, though the same reprieve will not be extended to chat via third-party applications, which will end in December as originally planned.
Third-party apps, accessories will stop working with Skype in December
Third party applications, add-ons and accessories will soon cease to function with Skype, according to a new dialog box warning appearing when the app starts up. The change, which will take place in December, could end up rendering a large number of Skype-specific hardware either partly or entirely non-functional to users.
Apps can be snapped to side of screen by verbal commands
Microsoft has shown off how its Xbox One game console will work for multitasking between games and apps. A short video demonstrating quick switching and actions by voice commands through Kinect also shows how game players will be able to use multiple apps at the same time, as well as sharing content with other users.
Government considers banning information sharing
Luxembourg's data-protection commissioner has reportedly opened an investigation into connections between Skype and the National Security Agency's PRISM surveillance program, according to a Guardian report. The commissioner is said to be looking into potential violations of the country's data-protection and privacy laws, which could lead to fines or other sanctions.
Microsoft updates Skype for Android with new tablet mode, better video
Microsoft has updated the Android version of Skype, days after updating the iOS variant. Version 4.4 adds a new interface for tablet users, as well as improved video call quality of up to four times the resolution of earlier versions, along with smaller updates in the form of UI changes, audio routing modifications, and a fix for an issue that caused some phones to reboot on an incoming call.
Skype upgrades accessibility features, interface style
International communication platform Skype has updated its app for iPhone and iPad, following the recent launch of iOS 7. Version 4.13 showcases a revamped interface, reflecting a similar aesthetic to iOS 7; general bug fixes are also included. Accessibility features have been improved, such as touch-type support for the dialpad, and VoiceOver can now announce the sender's name when messaging, as well as provide improved accuracy during group chatting. Though optimized for iPhone 5, Skype 4.13 is compatible with all devices using iOS 5 or later, and can be downloaded from iTunes for free.
Skype update fixes chat message bug
Skype for Mac has received a new update that simplifies the sharing experience and fixes a couple of bugs. Now when screen sharing on a Mac, users are given the choice to share either the entire screen or only a specific window. Support for three new languages has also been added, and a bug that caused some chat messages to not display has been fixed. A full list of changes can be found on Skype's blog page.
Possible Skype on PlayStation 4 not ruled out by Skype VP
Engineers at Skype have been working on 3D video calls, though it is unlikely to offer it to users for some time. The future video technology is revealed at the same time as Microsoft shows how Skype's audio codec is being employed in the Xbox One game console to provide higher-quality voice chat, when compared to the Xbox 360.
Over 750 channels now available to iOS app
The largest video platform and community for gamers, Twitch, has updated its TwitchTV app for iOS to Version 2.3.5. TwitchTV lets users stream gaming video on demand, and chat with other users. One can browse for content by channel or game, and receive push notifications for when one's preferred channels are live. Version 2.3.5 offers more stable chat and bug fixes. Additionally, more than 750 of the top currently broadcasting channels are now viewable on the iOS app, and the Following view now allows toggling between mobile-viewable streams and those available on Twitch's site. TwitchTV is available for free on iTunes.
Presentation points to upcoming Surface updates, more MS stores
During today's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner called this year the company's "biggest innovation year ever" and teased new releases from the Seattle-based company. At the end of his remarks, Turner displayed a slide showing major releases from nearly every aspect of the company -- including Office, some Surface revisions, and a host of Skype improvements.
Refreshed interface, improved loading times in new Skype client
Skype has released an update for its Android client today, at the same time as revealing the app has broken the 100 million installations barrier. Version 4.0 of the messaging app introduces a few design aspects and the general theme of the Skype client used in Windows 8, as well as a number of performance improvements.
Most native apps updated
Microsoft-owned Skype today announced that its Video Messaging feature has left the preview stage and should now be available in most of its native client apps. Desktop support includes OS X and Windows/Windows 8. Compatible mobile platforms, meanwhile, include iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry.
Google adds remote desktop feature to Google+ Hangouts
Google+ users can now remotely control a desktop in Hangouts, something suggested by the company to help in long-distance technical support. The feature uses the same background tech from Chrome Remote Desktop, according to Google staffer Daniel Caiafa in a Google+ update. When enabled from the Apps section, Hangouts Remote Desktop will ask permission to allow the other user to control the computer, while still allowing both sides to talk and see each other throughout the control session.
Skype in Outlook.com accompanied by Windows client update
Microsoft has added the ability to make Skype calls within the Outlook.com e-mail service. The site, which left beta in February, will allow Outlook users in the United Kingdom to access their Skype contacts, make calls, and communicate using instant messages, all from within the browser instead of launching external applications.
Messaging tools could be in violation of Saudi laws
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has issued orders to its regulatory bodies to ensure that communication tools like Skype and Whatsapp comply with the government's stringent requirements governing Internet communications. The kingdom's Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) announced last week that it had "become evident that some communication applications through (the) Internet don't meet regulatory requirements." The regulatory body did not, though, specify which laws certain apps might be violating.