After introducing background blur on video in Microsoft Teams a year ago, Microsoft is bringing the same AI-powered feature to its Skype desktop app. The software will then slowly blur everything else in the background and "takes the stress out of turning on your video and puts the focus where it belongs - on you!".
Bokeh, the effect of blurring of objects around the subject, has become a popular feature in mobile photography. It actually implemented this very same feature in Microsoft Teams a while ago.
Click on the gear icon at the top right of your call screen to open the Audio & Video Settings menu. "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".
Once enabled, Skype keeps you as the focal point. Select "blur my background", which will allow you to make yourself the priority of the video and to make the background blurry. Background blur is available on desktops and laptops running the latest version of Skype, but the feature is still somewhat experimental.
If you dread video calls because you can't ever find a clean, distraction-free space that won't embarrass you while you're on camera, Microsoft has just the thing: it's now added an option to blur the background so your contacts won't be able to clearly discern what's in your surroundings. "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", Microsoft says.
Microsoft says it does its best to blur your surroundings but can not guarantee that everything will always be blurred.