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Skype overhaul promises improved calling, chat sync across devices

Skype overhaul promises improved calling, chat sync across devices
Skype has announced a new architectural update with an intent to improve the popular messaging and video call platform in a world with more connected mobile devices.

Sharing some details about the changes in a blog post, Skype's Mark Gillet mentions that Skype is now using the cloud to assist clients in delivering chat messages and connecting calls, marking a shift from the p2p nature of the service where a major amount of processing was done on the user's device.

Gillet calls the move to Skype cloud the service's biggest architectural change in 10 years and says that new technologies are helping the company to promote improved battery life and improved connections.

"Skype clients continue to evaluate bandwidth, connectivity and firewall settings to select the most appropriate path for the call and continue to connect devices for P2P calls across the Internet so that users get audio and video connections that 'just work'," he states.

Skype also credits the cloud for enhancing the performance and quality of its core messaging experience. It talks about the ability to receive messages offline and pushing notifications to the Windows Phone 8 mobile client even when the Skype app is not running, and says that the feature will soon be extended to other Skype mobile clients soon.

However, the major feature that Skype is about to introduce is chat sync, something which has been demanded by a large number of users since the time Skype started focusing on clients for multiple devices. Skype says that it is working to synchronise chat message status across all of the user's devices so the user knows the current status of all of chats on every device that is used to interact with Skype. It says the capability will be rolled out across clients over the next few months.

Right now if you log-in to Skype's mobile client after being logged in on the desktop one, you receive all messages that you've already read on your desktop on your mobile, which hampers the chat experience in a world where users keep on shuttling between different devices.

Skype also states that it will use its cloud to help preserve the battery of the users' device by enabling the mobile Skype app to stay in "sleep" mode until it's needed by using push notifications.

When a user calls another user, the calling app sends the Skype ID and IP address of the parties, as well as the time and date, to the Skype cloud. Once a push notification is sent, Skype collects and stores information about the call. It will even sync missed calls information across all the users' devices,

The Skype client on Windows 8.1, will offer the ability to answer calls directly from the lock screen with the user's choice of audio, video or a message.

Skype also clarified that it uses strong physical, technical and administrative security protections, apart from storing only partial IP addresses, and cryptographically hashing the Skype IDs it stores, to help protect the users' privacy.

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