Skype may soon feature eye-grabbing "living photos," courtesy of a deal between Microsoft and San Francisco startup Swing Technologies.
Microsoft has acquired the talent and technologies behind the SWNG mobile app (formerly Polaroid Swing) for iOS, albeit not Swing Technologies itself. The deal's financial terms were not disclosed.
Similar to Apple's Live Photos feature in the stock Photos App for iOS, Swing's app allows users to create and share photo-based moments that display a snippet of video when pressed. For some added artistic flair, SWNG supports filters and slow-motion effects.
In a Nov. 6 announcement, Swing Technologies said its employees will join the Skype group at Microsoft and that its image-enhancing technologies will appear in the software's messaging and calling features.
"The Swing team's deep expertise in imaging technology will help us deliver great new features and capabilities for Skype. They have an impressive track record of delivering great user experiences and brand design around the technology they develop," said Amritansh Raghav, corporate vice president of Skype at Microsoft. "I welcome the new team members and am excited about how Swing will deliver innovation to our customers."
Swing Technologies co-founder Tommy Stadlen remarked that it is "an exciting time" to join a company whose fortunes have risen dramatically under the leadership of its current CEO, Satya Nadella. "We believe in the power of brands and technology, so the Skype mission and values resonate strongly with us," he said.
The deal comes a week after Microsoft issued a big update for the desktop flavor of Skype.
On Oct. 30, the company began rolling out an update to the client software for users on Windows 10 (November 2016 Update or earlier) Windows 8, Windows 7, Linux or Mac with Skype's automatic updating feature enabled. Users who don't want to wait can download the software at Skype.com.
The new version further diminishes the gap between the newer, cloud-enabled versions of the Skype mobile apps and their desktop counterparts. One perk of offloading much of Skype's processing workloads to the cloud is improved battery life on laptop PCs, according to the company.
A revamped interface sports custom theme options, similar to those that allow iOS and Android users to personalize the Skype experience. Skype's text-based chat window also gains some added functionality. Users can organize, or "pin," their contacts into groups and sort their connections by status, unread messages and more. New standard, compact and collapsed views give users more control over their on-screen real estate.
Microsoft has also enabled add-in support for Skype Insiders, users who have access to upcoming releases of the software in exchange for their feedback.
Like browser and application plug-ins, Skype add-ins help users automate tasks or incorporate third-party services into their chats and calls. In August, Microsoft and PayPal announced peer-to-peer payment support on the Skype app for iOS and Android in the form of a Send Money add-in.