Microsoft brings AI-powered background blurring to Skype


Skype's background blur feature should detect hands, arms, and hair to ensure it doesn't blur out correct parts on a video calls.

In an attempt to stay relevant in the reign of WhatsApp (download for iOS or Android), Microsoft's video chat app Skype (download for iOS or Android) added background blur during calls.

According the blog, blurred backgrounds could come in handy when "you're being interviewed on live television and your adorable child comes marching into the room"-referencing Professor Robert Kelly's iconic video interview on BBC, during which his adorable toddler sashayed into the room and stole the show". Once selected, the background will seamlessly get out of focus.

To activate the new feature, place the mouse over the Skype video button and select the "blur my background" option. Now, the Skype users will be able to bring them in focus by blurring the background during video calling. There is no word on whether mobile versions will be updated with the function.

The AI background tool is similar to the one that Microsoft added to Teams.

The background blurring feature has already been rolled out to Microsoft's corporate communication client, Teams, and now it's in the consumer-oriented app. In that menu, click on the Blur my background toggle to turn the feature on. But Skype is now touting its new ability to blur.

"We do our best to make sure that your background is always blurred, but we can not guarantee that your background will always be blurred", the company added in the blog post.

It's important to note that the feature may not be 100% reliable.

Making video calls on Skype on mobile will now be nearly as flawless as what is obtainable on either desktop or laptop. Thanks to AI, Microsoft are enabling Skype users to achieve this with affordable webcams and little more than a checkbox in software. This means you should not have something going on in the background that you do not want to risk being seen by others.

So all the messy people around, are you excited to use the background blur feature?