While messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Allo have all incorporated end-to-end encryption into their products over the last few years, Skype has lagged behind. But now that’s changing—Skype is adding end-to-end encrypted messaging, with the help of Signal.
“Microsoft joins a growing list of organisations including WhatsApp, Google, Facebook, and Signal itself that have integrated the open source Signal Protocol into their messaging platform,” Signal said in a blog post. “With hundreds of millions of active users, Skype is one of the most popular applications in the world, and we’re excited that Private Conversations in Skype will allow more users to take advantage of Signal Protocol’s strong encryption properties for secure communication.”
Skype’s new Private Conversations will only enable encryption in conversations between two people—it won’t work for group chats. Private Conversations also won’t sync across devices, which means if you start an encrypted chat with a contact on your phone, you won’t see it logged on your computer. Skype will display a lock next to your contact’s name so that you know the conversation is encrypted.
Private Conversations aren’t available broadly yet—Skype has only enabled them for users who are part of its Insider programme, which allows users to test new features before they’re rolled out to everyone.