Two Skype irritations, gone: message syncing and mobile performance improve

Skype has addressed some of its biggest irritations for chat users, with an update that properly syncs messages across all devices.

Message history and read/unread status will now sync much faster. Better still, the service won't bombard users with old notifications when they sign in on a device they haven't picked up in a while. To give users more peace of mind, Skype will also mark messages as delivered even when the recipient is offline.

The changes are rolling out now for Skype on all mobile platforms, but group chat users will have to wait several months to get these improvements.

Skype is also making some performance tweaks to its mobile apps. The company says it has reduced startup, resume and load times, and has improved battery life while the app is running in the background.

More improvements to chat will arrive in the coming months, including the ability to see notifications only on the device you're actively using, and syncing your Favorites contact list across devices.

Although Skype already handles billions of messages per month, the Microsoft-owned service was caught flat-footed by the rise of non-SMS messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook Messenger. Skype admitted in a blog post last year that it needs to focus more on mobile and make messaging much easier. Last fall, it described a shift from peer-to-peer to cloud services as a way of offering more features. The forced migration of MSN Messenger users likely put even more pressure on Skype to whip its messaging service into shape. It seems we're seeing the first fruits of those efforts now.

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