What is the cloud?
The world is changing – devices are now smaller and mobile, and people are accessing Skype from a variety of devices all over the world. This shift prompted us to move from a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) architecture for calls, messaging and sharing to a cloud-based system. It’s the biggest architecture change in the history of Skype, and we’re constantly making improvements so that, no matter where you are or what device you’re using, everything “just works.” The best way to get the most out of Skype is to update to the latest version whenever possible.
You might have already noticed some of the benefits of the cloud-based system as we continue to implement it, such as video messaging that allows you to catch up whenever or wherever you are, ensuring that you can connect with the important people in your life regardless of conflicting schedules.
Have you noticed that you can now connect to Skype from Outlook.com without leaving your browser? Because that’s another benefit of the cloud system we’re currently implementing. But these aren’t the only new features we’re introducing.
Registration and Account Security
Your privacy is of paramount importance to us, so starting with the release of Skype for Windows 8, we’ve been investing heavily in improving the registration and account security experience. Sign-up, sign-in, and improved security have been our focus. You can now use your Microsoft account across all of our Skype clients, which improves your experience if you ever forget or lose your account credentials, and allows us to help you recover your account. Microsoft account also brings you great features like two-step verification, which keeps your Skype account more secure than ever. We’re also continuing to bring Skype to new platforms, such as Xbox, and Microsoft account makes it easy to unlock communications with the growing Microsoft account community of more than 700 million users (all while only having to remember login details for a single account).
Our cloud also helps us protect you from malicious attacks, spam, and fraud, thanks to the anti-spam and anti-malware filters we share in common with other Microsoft cloud messaging and email products.
With the billions of chat messages Skype users send every month, enhancing the performance and quality of chats is something we’re heavily invested in. With the new cloud architecture, we’re adding the ability to queue and deliver chat messages even if your friends are offline, so you can be “always reachable” to the important people in your life. With Windows Phone 8 (and other platforms are coming soon), you can receive new message notifications whether Skype is running or not.
The new cloud system also allows Skype to synchronize your messages across all your Skype-connected devices, so whether you’re at your desk, at home, or on the go, you’ll be able to see the up-to-date status of all your chats.
The cloud is helping improve Skype-to-Skype calls, too. On your mobile devices, Skype can now go into “sleep” mode until you use it – thus preserving battery life – by using push notifications. This is a feature you’re probably familiar with from many other mobile devices, such as weather apps, email, and breaking news services. To send a push notification to a “sleeping” Skype app, the cloud collects information from the calling app (the Skype ID and IP address of the parties, plus the time and date). When we send the push notification, we collect and store information about the call (Skype IDs, IP addresses, time of the call, call duration, and whether the call was successful). If you are away from your device, your missed Skype calls will synchronize across all of your devices, ensuring you never miss any important messages.
Our cloud allows us to deliver new calling features, such as being able to answer calls directly from the lock screen of Windows 8.1 with your choice of audio, video, or a message. The best way to get the most out of Skype is to update to the latest version whenever possible.
All of these improvements allow us to improve the calling experience by enhancing the quality and reliability of Skype-to-Skype calls, but it also allows us to introduce the innovative new features you’ve come to expect from Skype. We take your data security seriously, and the information we collect to provide these new features is protected by strong technical, administrative, and physical security features. We only store partial IP addresses, and we hash the Skype IDs we store to protect your privacy.