Clones of Snapchat's popular Stories feature have been showing up inside other apps left and right this year, leading some people to joke that things like pregnancy tests, graphing calculators, and Excel will soon feature them.
As it turns out, that last prediction isn't too far off, because Microsoft has indeed ripped off the stories concept for one of its products: not Excel, but Skype.
The Skype team on Thursday introduced the "next generation" of its platform, complete with a "new feature" dubbed Highlights. But the idea behind Highlights isn't all that new.
"Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments," the team explained. If that sounds familiar it's because it's basically the same thing as Snapchat Stories, the feature rival social network Facebook has been ruthless and unapologetic about ripping off and integrating into its own apps as of late, including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.
To share a Highlight on Skype, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it for all your contacts to see, or send it directly to specific people or groups. Friends and family can react to your story with emoticons or with a message.
"The new Skype is your canvas, and now you're free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups," the team wrote.
The new Skype also makes it easier to connect with brands via bots and add-ins, and search via a revamped "Find" panel.
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"Looking for seats to a big game? Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into the chat with the StubHub bot," the Skype team wrote. "Trying to find the perfect recipe for the brunch you're hosting? Discover the latest trends with the BigOven add-in. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing."
Skype is rolling out this new version worldwide, beginning today on mobile. It should reach all Android devices over the "coming weeks" and iPhones after that. Over the next few months, Skype plans to update its Windows and Mac apps with these features as well.
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