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Microsoft Announces New Skype Features

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Microsoft has announced that it is planning several new features for Skype, its consumer communications platform. Many reports had earlier suggested that Microsoft had been planning to kill off Skype in lieu of Microsoft Teams for years. But now it says that Skype is “here to stay.”

“Skype has been in our lives for nearly two decades, and we are here to stay,” an unattributed post to the Skype Blogs reads. “We care about all of you, our Skype users, so we … [have] plans for an improved, faster, reliable, and super modern-looking Skype.”

So, here are some of the new features coming to Skype:

Calling stage modernization: Microsoft is adding new layouts, beautiful theming, and other new features to the Skype calling stage, which is its weird name for the interface you see when you’re conversing with one or more other people. You will be able to see yourself on the main view during a call, view multiple people with a more natural grid, disable the video stream, and hide audio-only participants from the calling stage.

Other modern features: The chat header is getting updated with a new layout, a group avatar, and button gradients. The left side panel in the main Skype window is likewise being redesigned with Fluent icons throughout. And Skype will support vibrant new color themes.

Improved Meet Now: This Windows 10-only feature is being redesigned to be even lighter weight, easier to use, and better looking.

Browser support: The web version of Skype will natively support “all browsers,” Microsoft says, alongside icons of Edge, Chrome, Safari, and Opera.

Office Lens on iOS: The iPhone version of Skype is getting camera improvements thanks to Office Lens so you can “capture your memories, create videos or scan documents, whiteboards and business cards in the smartest way.”

TwinCam: This intriguing feature will let Skype users add a second camera—perhaps on their smartphones—to a call so you can show two things at once.

Notification sounds customization: Microsoft will let users choose their own notification sounds.

New reactions chooser: Using a new reactions chooser, you will be able to choose any emotion and react within two seconds. Microsoft claims. It will also support search, reactions organization, and pinned items.

PSTN translation: Skype Universal Translator will be able to translate phone calls on the fly between languages. It supports all languages and works on landlines as well as video calls.

Improved performance: Skype is about to get 30 percent faster on desktop and an incredible 2000 percent faster on Android thanks to modernizing the media stack.

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PUBG MOBILE Partners with YouTube Premium

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Today PUBG MOBILE has announced a new partnership with YouTube Premium and Google Play, bringing players a whole host of exciting rewards. players will have the opportunity to claim a FREE YouTube Premium-themed gift bag including a 3-month trial of YouTube Premium, an exclusive 15-day limited edition parachute,1000 BP, and more. Additionally, PUBG MOBILE players can look forward to earning free gear, with new content available every month until May 28th,2022. Players will have an opportunity to claim exclusive permanent in-game items.

YouTube Premium gives viewers uninterrupted access to YouTube, where over a billion hours of video are watched each day! Experience ad-free viewing, download videos to watch offline and play videos and music seamlessly whether you’re on the move, using other apps or your screen is turned off.

YouTube Premium also includes access to YouTube Music Premium, featuring over 80 million official songs, covers, and remixes. The partnership between PUBG MOBILE and YouTube Premium is part of the new Version 1.7 update, bringing new content, game modes, and even more exciting collaborations to the game.

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Spotify Pulls the Plug on its Car View Feature

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Spotify is taking away the Car View feature, a report says, just as users began to notice it unexpectedly missing. Car View, available through the Spotify app for iOS and Android, had a more streamlined interface and playback controls to make for a better way to play music while driving.

“We can confirm that we’re retiring the car view feature,” a moderator on Spotify’s forums wrote. “This, however, doesn’t mean we don’t want to improve on how our users listen to Spotify while driving. On the contrary, we’re actively exploring a variety of new ways to deliver the best in-car listening experience. Think of retiring car view as something that needs to happen in an effort to make way for new innovations coming down the track.”

The move was viewed with skepticism by some users, who have posited that the company is instead just trying to push its upcoming “Car Thing” program on users. Car Thing is an $80 smart device player, designed for use in cars, which isn’t available except for preorder in the U.S. as of right now.

The aforementioned moderator said on the forum that the company was looking for the best way to have an in-car listening experience. Spotify has not offered any alternatives as of press time, though a moderator has said users could make use of Google Assistant for hands-free music control, along with a Google Maps feature to allow for listeners to control music playback.

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WhatsApp May Be Building a new Communities Feature

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WhatsApp may be working on a new “communities” feature that allows group admins greater control. With the feature, admins will be able to create separate clusters of people within a group, who are tied to specific activities. For example – some people might be interested in movies, others in music, and group admins can filter them to specific communities.

Group admins can also invite other people into the community by using a link, which can be shared publicly or privately. Another thing to note is that you may not be able to interact with all groups within a community when you join.

The feature was first spotted by XDA Developers and now WABetaInfo has also seen evidence on a recent test build. This means that the feature has not hit Beta channels yet, and is currently being worked on. While unknown at this time, WhatsApp may also ship some advanced tools for group admins when it is released.

WhatsApp will also differentiate Groups from Communities using subtle design cues, like using a square profile image with rounded borders for Communities while maintaining the circular profile image for Groups.

Recently, WhatsApp announced a slew of new features that will roll out on the platform very soon. This includes new Undo buttons while editing images or video, an option to convert stickers into images, a new control bar for videos that use Picture-in-Picture (PIP), an option to enable notifications for reactions, and new privacy settings that gives you more control over your profile and info.

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