When Microsoft originally bought Skype, long-time fans of the service were understandably a little worried. Back then, Microsoft was being ran by then-CEO, Steve Ballmer, who was more interested in keeping all of Microsoft’s services and offerings strictly, well, Microsoft. Things have changed since then, and for a while now current CEO, Satya Nadella has been running the show and has taken a more cross-platform approach since the day he started. That means that offerings such as Office have become much better on platforms like Android and Mac OS X. This new cross-platform friendliness has trickled down to the Skype app, and it’s now getting updated on Android with group video call support.
The update is being billed as a big move from the Skype team, who announced the update via their official blog earlier today. The new update is going live for Android smartphones and tablets as well as iOS devices throughout “Western Europe and North America”. Just what countries Skype means specifically by “Western Europe” is unclear, but the team aims to have the feature working worldwide by some time in March. How big is a group? Well, Skype is detailing group calls from 5 to 25 different users per video call, and they’re also promising a slick new user interface to help people choose their preferred view. Unsurprisingly, Skype is using the family angle here in their blog announcement, but they’re also widening a new feature to mobile users today, too.
Some time ago, Skype made it much easier to join a Skype conversation, without even needing to have a Skype or Microsoft account. Sharing the link with people you needed to join a conference call was a big move for the company and they’re now bringing this to mobile with smartphone and tablet users able to invite whoever they want to their call. This means that those looking to use Skype to talk to someone without Skype can start the call from practically any device that they want. There’s a look at the new group video calls in the below video, and those interested in more can take a look at the Skype blog, also linked below.