Previously we’ve covered the new default apps in Windows 8.1, along with enhanced apps and upgrades to the Mail, Calendar, and Photos apps, and now it’s time to look at the new Messaging app. Messaging is now a Skype-infused hybrid; it’s no longer anything resembling what came out of the box with Windows 8.
Microsoft had been teasing for over a year that Skype would become the primary way users would communicate with one another on Windows 8. The time has finally come for them to live up to that promise and with the leaked 9471 build of Windows 8.1 proves it. Let’s look at how the new Messaging app works and if it lives up to user’s expectations of the Skype integration into Windows 8.
How the New Messaging App Works
Right from the get go the new Messaging app has a completely new UI interface, new functions and the ability to link most forms of major chat on the Web.
Facebook, Twitter, Google, Outlook, you name it, Messaging can now handle it in Windows 8.1.
Whenever you click on any contact, you’ll have multiple choices on how to message them. If you click on a contact that’s using Skype, you’ll see the traditional Skype messaging options at your command.
When you call someone on Skype through Messaging, it’ll automatically add Skype to a new Snap window one-third the size of your screen.
If you previously allowed Skype to run in the background, you’ll need to do so again.
As you further use Skype within the Messaging app, you’ll want to adjust the Snap screen to the best size to use side-by-side.
There’s no telling yet if you’ll be able to add more messaging accounts to the app going forward, but we hope that Microsoft will add more functionality in this area.
When you talk to someone on your buddy list, you’ll either be directed to the Skype window if they’re a Skype account holder or your Messaging window if they’re on any other network.
I’m personally very excited for the integrated Skype-hybrid Messaging app for Windows 8. While I’ve tried several messaging apps for Windows 8, I’ve yet to find one that truly does it for me and I’ve continued relying on Trillian to get it all done for me.
When Windows 8.1 goes live, I’ll eagerly await the ability to add more to the Messaging app and I hope users press Microsoft to do just that. So far, that’s the only downfall of this new version of the default Messaging App, and I hope Microsoft addresses it before its October release.
Please Note: Windows 8.1 Build 9471 is a leaked form of the next update of Windows 8. It was not released by Microsoft and is not meant for public consumption.