Skype was first released in 2003 as a messaging and free calling tool — ahead of its time. Since then it has evolved, been acquired by Microsoft and been completely overshadowed by the rise of other messaging apps and social networks.
Today, Microsoft announced a reimagined Skype — one that looks a lot more like Snapchat.
Beyond simply implementing a version of Snapchat Stories, however, the new Skype sees itself as a search and transactional tool that will enable people to find information and things to do. Like Facebook Messenger, it also sees the integration of bots as a way to interact with brands and companies via the app:
With the new Skype, it’s even easier to turn talk into action with group conversations, add-ins, and bots. The new “Find” panel takes center stage, and makes Skype infinitely searchable. Looking for seats to a big game? Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into the chat with the StubHub bot. Trying to find the perfect recipe for the brunch you’re hosting? Discover the latest trends with the BigOven add-in and learn the many ways you can make that avocado toast. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing.
Instagram rolled out it own version of Snapchat Stories last August. The Facebook property has more than 400 million daily active users, while Snapchat has more than 160 million.
Skype has about 300 million active users. Microsoft bought the company in 2011 for roughly $8.5 billion dollars and since then, it has operated it as a kind of boring utilitarian tool. The new look and feel aims to make it more appealing to the Snapchat generation.