Skype's chat-focused desktop redesign is available to everyone

Jon Fingas
If you've wanted to check out Skype's huge desktop redesign without living on the bleeding edge, now's your chance.

If you've wanted to check out Skype's huge desktop redesign without living on the bleeding edge, now's your chance. Microsoft has released the finished version of its big overhaul for Linux, Mac and Windows users. As in the preview, the new communication software gets both a fresh new look and a stronger focus on messaging -- it doesn't feel quite so much like a calling app with chat grafted on top. There's a media gallery to find links and photos from your conversations, and you'll find modern messaging staples like reactions, mentions (to get attention in a group chat) and a notifications panel to catch up on what's new. This even marks the return of old-school status updates.

If you're part of the Skype Insider program, you'll also get support for add-ins. You can pull in animated GIFs from Giphy, for example, or send money to cover last night's dinner.

There are a slew of other, sometimes subtler upgrades, including customizable themes, a more flexible chat list (such as pinning favorites) and easier drag-and-drop file sharing up to 300MB. Really, this update is about dragging Skype's desktop client into the modern era -- it's an acknowledgment that Microsoft has to compete with the likes of Facebook Messenger, iMessage and Hangouts, wherever you happen to use them.

Skype Blog

  • This article originally appeared on Engadget.