Skype adding Portrait-style background blurring on live video calls

The iPhone’s Portrait Mode, which artificially blurs the background when taking photos of people, has been one of the Camera app’s most popular features. Now Skype background blurring is available in live video calls …

Microsoft says the new feature is rolling out on Mac, Windows and Linux. Here, I’m seeing the update as available on Mac, but the installation is still waiting to start, so looks like it may require some patience.

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.

To use it, begin a video call then hover over the video button. ‘Blur my background’ will then appear as an option, and you can toggle it on.

There’s no word on when or if Skype background blurring is coming to mobile.

Facebook added a Portrait mode selfie feature toward the end of last year. As it’s an entirely artificial effect, with no use of the True Depth camera system, it works on older iPhones, not just those with Face ID.

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