Microsoft Adds Background Blur to Skype Video Calls

Silverblackstock  Shutterstock

Silverblackstock Shutterstock

And that is why Microsoft is resorting to some Artificial Intelligence to implement background blur in Skype video chats on desktops.

Background blur is available now on most desktops and laptops running the latest version of Skype. You can download it at this link.

The feature first appeared in Microsoft Teams, but is now available more widely and uses a simple key toggle, right-click or menu click to bring in the AI-powered fuzz.

To get started with background blur in your calls, you can find the option by hovering over the "Video" button during a call. "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".

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Bottom line: Microsoft's new background blur feature will be incredibly handy but as Redmond warns, it isn't failproof.

"[Background blur] takes the stress out of turning on your video and puts the focus where it belongs-on you", explains Skype. The algorithms have been trained to detect human outlines, including the voluminous hair that some lucky people are blessed with as well as arms and hands.

Now, before you get carried away and decide it's totally cool to leave up all those Fight Club posters in your home office, Skype does issue a pretty important note of caution. But Skype is now touting its new ability to blur. Alternatively, you can enable it through Skype's settings to ensure an always blurred background.

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