Have you ever been on a Skype video call and heard the dreaded comment, “What’s that on the table behind you?” Oh crap, what did you forget to hide before the call started?
Well, Microsoft has got your back, as Skype is getting a new background-blurring feature this week. Skype users can now blur the background on video calls. You’ll never again have to explain that bong that your hippie uncle left behind.
Or, as Microsoft notes in the release notes for the new version of Skype, it can also blur out those socks you forgot to pick up, or business information you left on a whiteboard behind you.
We’ve all had those moments: You’re about to video call your parents and your laundry is all over the place, or you’re about to have a meeting with a potential investor and your business plan is on a whiteboard behind you, or you’re being interviewed on live television and your adorable child comes marching into the room. There are plenty of life’s moments that can get in the way of you being the focus in every video call—and that’s why we’re introducing background blur in Skype video calls.
Background blur in Skype is similar to background blur in Microsoft Teams. It takes the stress out of turning on your video and puts the focus where it belongs—on you! With a simple toggle, right-click, or even through your Skype settings, your background will be instantly and subtly blurred, leaving just you as the only focal point.*
Background blur in Skype and Teams uses artificial intelligence (AI)—trained in human form detection—to keep you in focus during your call. This technology is also trained to detect your hair, hands, and arms, making a call with background blur just as relaxed and easy as a regular video call.
The background blur effect is similar to the “bokeh” effect used in iPhone Portrait photos, only in real-time on a video call.
The feature is currently rolling out to the Skype desktop and mobile apps, as well as the web version. To make use of the new feature, begin a video call then hover over the video button. You’ll see “Blur my background” appear as an option, which you can toggle on.