Skype, the Microsoft owned video calling app, is gearing up to offer a tough competition to Zoom that has emerged as a popular option for video conferencing among a lot of people. Despite the negative press because of security and privacy concerns, Zoom has consistently gained new users but Skype is not giving up. The visual telephony giant has announced that it is adding custom background feature for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Web in its new version 188.8.131.52. Zoom offers a similar feature. The update came out on April 16 and the company said that it is rolling it out over this week.
“Want to look like you're calling from the beach, or from space? Now you can, with custom backgrounds for your video calls,” the company said.
To choose a custom background, go Settings > Audio & Video. In the video section, you will find the “Choose background effect option”. You can select your background here and add a new image as background.
Microsoft added the custom background option to Teams just last week, reported Thurrott. Both Skype and Teams already support background blurring feature so it did not take Microsoft much effort to add support for custom backgrounds.
However, it can be noted that the update will reportedly not be available on Skype for Windows 10 that is downloaded from Microsoft Store. However, those who wish to use it can download the app from Skype website.
Before adding this Zoom-like feature, Skype added a Meet Now button earlier this month that allows people to connect faster with their friends and colleagues by just clicking on a link. It enables the host to start a group conversation without downloading the app or sign-ups.
Skype has had to pull its socks because its San Jose, California-based competitor has been seeing the best days of its existence even after having to deal with reports from across the globe around security and privacy issues. It reported on Thursday that the number of its daily users has ballooned to 30 crores in three weeks, sending the shares up. The value of its shares have more than doubled since the coronavirus pandemic began prompting countries to enforce lockdowns.