Skype seems to be having a little difficulty at present figuring out whether it wants to be a business service or a consumer one. After recently adding Slack-like notifications, mentions and more, it is now adding Snapchat-style photo filters.

As seems obligatory for app updates these days, the filters claim to be AI-powered …

We’re introducing photo effects—smart, whimsical effects, like quirky face stickers and witty captions, for your photos or Highlights. Smart photo effects give you customized effects options based on what’s in each picture—try them on selfies, in a picture of your morning coffee, or a photo of your pet.

Once you’ve taken a photo, tap the magic wand button in the top of your screen to access photo effects. Swipe to the right to view more photo effects options. Photo effects may include a witty caption, celebrity lookalike, smart face sticker, location and weather, and mystery face swap.

Don’t get too attached to any of them, though: Skype says that available filters will be ‘always changing,’ not just for special occasions like holidays, but also on different days of the week.

I do think it’s possible for the same service to work well for both business and consumer use, but my view is you have to steer a pretty neutral course to pull it off. Skype has done that in the past, but now seems to be just throwing random features at the app. I do worry that, in attempting to appeal to everyone, what it’s actually doing is taking an app whose core strength has been its simplicity and adding layers of complexity that actually end up pleasing no-one.

Skype is a free download from Google Play.

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