Services & Software

Skype can now blur the background to hide your messy house

Microsoft's video calling service update keeps the focus on you.

The background blurring option can be activated during a Skype call.
Microsoft/Screenshot by CNET

Now you don't have to clean up before making Skype calls.

Microsoft has added a background-blurring feature to its video calling service in its latest update.

"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," the Skype team wrote Wednesday.

It's similar to the blurring feature the company added to Microsoft Teams last year and could be handy if, say, your kids wandered into the room while you were being interviewed over Skype.

The feature uses artificial intelligence that's "trained in human form detection" -- and that includes recognizing your hair, hands and arms -- to keep you in focus.

Microsoft noted in an emailed statement that the background blurring is "currently available on most desktops and laptop computers, for Skype version 8.37 and above," but wouldn't reveal if it plans to bring the feature to the mobile version.

First published Feb. 7, 6:56 a.m. PT.
Update, 10:25 a.m. PT: Adds Microsoft statement.

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