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Skype for Android now shares photos, videos

by Kristen Nicole

Skype for Android saw another noteworthy update this week, introducing new media sharing capabilities for users. “It’s now even easier to share those special moments with your loved ones or send files and view documents on the go while on a business trip,” says Dan Chastney, a Skype senior product manager for Android. Improving file-sharing to support videos and photos really broadens the features of Skype’s Android app, and makes it more competitive with the hoards of alternatives currently in the Android Market. Mobile chat is a universe all its own, with as many messenger services as there are types of messages to be sent.

Microsoft sees perks in Android Market

Layering in file-sharing and more collaborative features, however, is an important development for any mobile messenger. Since being acquired by Microsoft, Skype’s feature roll out has been a little faster and a little more relevant to today’s highly social, mobile world. Skype’s seen significant updates to its desktop app in recent months, and landed a huge deal with Facebook to power its video chats. While Skype for Android was relatively late in the game, it’s still ahead of Microsoft’s own mobile platform, which lacks such integrated Skype support. In fact, Microsoft turned to iOS and Android a great deal for recent app launches, the most recent being SkyDrive and Kinectimals for the iPhone and iPad.

Android is a haven for messenger apps

As the messenger sector expands into the mobile realm, more companies are entering the game, and more niche products address varied user needs. Yahoo! is one of the latest to launch a new messenger app for Android. Called Hub, the app is a competitor to the popular BBM service, and supports group messaging, complimenting Yahoo!’s other mobile communications apps, Yahoo! Mail and Messenger. IBM is empowering business users with its enterprise suite of tablet apps, extending collaboration and online-meeting environments for employees that bring their own Android devices into work.

And messaging has taken on a global scale with popular services like Kakao Talk Messenger, though this scene is getting rather competitive as well. Tencent, China’s social media giant, recently reported 50 million users on its group-messaging service Weixin, gaining on Kakao Talk. With international expansion supporting US and Japan phone numbers, Weixin’s Android presence only continues to grow.

With all the promise of Android’s platform, Google’s not one to miss out on its own mobile OS. The company’s take on group messaging, Google+, continues to receive steady updates as it builds out its features for mobile and web users. One of the most recent improvements on Google+ is the inclusion of search, letting you find posts and people right from the app’s dashboard. The update also includes a nice feature to see who’s online, and who’s currently typing in messenger conversations. To start your own Messenger conversation, all you have to do is enter a phone number.