Skype is an old technology trying to fit in a new world, and as such, the service has been going through some growing pains recently. Between all the numerous issues – the slow transition to high definition video conferences and an often subpar mobile experience being two good examples – the worst issue that has plagued Skype in recent years has to be the way that the service has handled text based chats. Skype, like most other services that popped up before the turn of mobile cloud computing, has always been handled locally, with each conversation happening between not necessarily just two user accounts, but also two computers. This meant that as we have grown to rely on more than like one personal computer to interact with the web, conversations would be stuck on the computers they happened on and wouldn’t sync to other devices connected to your account.
Microsoft and Skype fixed this issue a little while back, but the implementation left more than a little to be desired; conversations would often appear out of order, messages would get stuck and fail to sync at all, and notifications have been unreliable. Microsoft promised to fix the broken experience, and today they have delivered, rolling out new Skype applications for most major platforms that fixes push notifications and enables seamless syncing across “all of your Skype-enabled devices.”
As part of the update, Skype has also added some much needed functionality that other modern messaging platforms have provided for years now – the big one being read receipts. Now Skype will inform you when your contact reads a message, similar to how both Facebook Messenger and Apple’s iMessage platform work. Performance is also greatly improved, with Skype saying it’ll be quicker to sync messages then ever before as well.
While this is a great start, it’s still far from perfect – and the Skype team is aware of it. At the moment, when you get a new message you’ll be alerted with a chime and a notification on all your devices, even if you’re only actively chatting with one of them at the moment. The team says that they’re working on improving this in a future version, as well as enable syncing with your Favorites contact list.
Sound good? Head on over to the official Skype website and get started, given you’re on a platform that received an update today (Windows, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android). No word yet on when – or if – other platforms, such as Mac OS X or Blackberry, will receive similar updates, but stay tuned.