Skype Desktop App Now Supports Noise Cancelation

Posted on March 13, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Skype with 6 Comments

Microsoft has brought its AI-enhanced and Teams-based noise cancelation functionality to the desktop versions of Skype.

“Whether it’s people talking, kids playing, the construction workers next door, or your pet dog scaring that imaginary monster away from the front porch, background noise can be really distracting when you’re trying to talk on Skype,” a recent post to the Skype Blogs explains. “Well, no more! We are pleased to announce the release of our latest background noise suppression feature in the Skype desktop app. Originally developed for Microsoft Teams, this new feature is designed to silence just about everything except for your voice when you’re meeting on Skype.”

Noise cancelation is on by default, but you can configure the feature in Skype settings. You’ll find the following choices:

Auto (default). Skype will adjust the level of noise suppression dynamically and based on your environment.

Low. Only low levels of persistent background noise, like a computer fan or air conditioner, will be suppressed. (Microsoft notes that you can use this setting if you want to share the music you are playing.)

High. All background sound will be suppressed except for speech.

Off.  Noise cancellation is disabled.

Want to know more? Microsoft has an interesting discussion about how it is using machine learning (ML) to learn the difference between clean speech and noise here.

Thanks to Burke McQuinn for the tip!

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Skype Desktop App Now Supports Noise Cancelation”

  1. Avatar

    samp

    The weird thing here is Zoom, Microsoft teams and Google Meet have already had this feature, how long can it take to import it from Teams to Skype?

    Skype is struggling, Zoom has taken up its market share, (though Microsoft as a whole is getting it back in Teams), though why Microsoft is still trying to improve on a product thats going away in less than 6 months is anyone's guess.

    • Avatar

      mobispoke

      In reply to samp:

      Where is it reported that Microsoft is getting rid of Skype in less than 6 months? I think you are referring to Skype for Business. They are actually very different products. Skype for Business was a rebranding of Lync and MSFT tried to smash it into the consumer product Skype. Chris Capacillo told Thurrot and Mary Jo on Windows Weekly late last year that Skype is not going away.

    • Avatar

      wright_is

      In reply to samp:

      From what I've seen, Zoom isn't really a competitor to Skype, at least not directly. Zoom is aimed more at meetings and if you want to talk for more than 40 minutes at a go, it costs money, whilst Skype allows ad-hoc calls to individuals or groups of people of indeterminate length.

      @mobispoke Microsoft announced last year that they want to migrate people away from Skype to Teams for home users. Whether that will just be a rebranding or whether they have rethought the matter is a different kettle of fish.

      Office.com is still showing Skype for now.

      • Avatar

        mobispoke

        In reply to wright_is:

        I agree that Skype vs Zoom is not a particularly equivalent comparison, although the same can be said of Teams vs Zoom, given that the persistent chat + video functions of Teams are predicated on the same technology platform as Skype. Skype now allows up to 100 screens to be visible at once on a call with up to 250 total users. Moderated chats/calls were enabled last spring, allowing the platform to be used more easily for teaching. And the Meet Now function is an easier way to schedule and host a meeting compared to the creation of a Zoom meeting IMO. I think one of the big challenges that Skype faced was the fact that most people have a Skype account, have long forgotten their password, and the platform is very good at insisting you retain your account associated with your email address. (as of 2019 there were 4 billion Skype accounts, far in excess of the monthly users. Source: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/how-skype-modernized-its-backend-infrastructure-using-azure-cosmos-db-part-3/) .


        There has been plenty of speculation, including by Paul and Brad, about the imminent demise of Skype, particularly before Teams for home users was officially announced. However, this site also reported last year Microsoft was integrating the Teams and Skype directories and at the launch of Teams for home users, how Microsoft took the opportunity to highlight Skype use figures rather than announce its demise. Meanwhile, GroupMe, a subsidiary of Skype, recently solicited input from me along with other users about features it is thinking on bring into the app, after years of stasis (except for, interestingly enough, a Skype button to schedule Skype calls within a GroupMe chat). I think it's very possible Microsoft was thinking of pulling the plug on Skype before the Pandemic before usage picked up again (as was the case for every video conference platform). However, the current trajectory seems to be that they recognize the platform has a steady enough user base that the only thing forcing a conversion to Teams will only go to undermine consumer users. Time will tell, though. 


        • Avatar

          darkgrayknight

          In reply to mobispoke:

          from what I understand, Teams uses the "skype system" underneath. So as they add features to Teams, they can pretty readily apply back to Skype. They should keep the Skype product and just make it integrate with Teams for video/chat capabilities (so maybe expand Skype to be Teams for Home users). Though this may be a bit more difficult than it seems like it should be.

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