Microsoft has just found the perfect Skype app for the Indian market.
At an event in Mumbai today, Satya Nadella announced Skype Lite, a 13MB app that works even on slower networks and on lower-end phones with limited storage and processing power.
On top of this, Skype Lite leverages Aadhaar, India's biometric database, as its "fundamental authentication system," Nadella said. "We're very excited about what we are doing with Skype, and the India Stack (the infrastructure of Aadhaar that allows private companies to interact with the database)."
The company is positioning Skype Lite, available on Android starting today, as a single-app for all sorts of communication — "messaging, calling, sharing," a company executive said on stage. For instance, much like earlier version of Google Hangouts, the text messages and IM chats appear in the same app.
Microsoft has also introduced bots to the messaging app and added automated services such as MSN News. The bots, much like in Google Assistant, are able to predict what it is that you're likely to type and fetch information for you. Additionally, Skype Lite uses machine learning to de-clutter spam messages.
But more importantly, Skype Lite offers Aadhaar authentication, and allows either of the callers to request for other's verification. The verification works like this: a user could ask from within the app while a call is underway to check for the verification of the other person. The other person will be prompted to enter their 12-digit unique Aadhaar number and a one-time password they received on their phone.
The company said this feature could come in handy in scenarios such as online job interview where either of the parties may find it necessary to have some sort of verification method. The company assured that it deletes all the Aadhaar data once the call has been disconnected.
Launched in 2009, Aadhaar has grown to become the world's largest biometric database. Over 1.1 billion — 99 percent of all adults — have enrolled to the system. Though Aadhaar has made it faster and ever to verify a user's identity, it comes with its own set of problems.