Since its inception, Skype has served as means by which people living on opposite sides of the world could see and hear each other. For some time, it was the market leader and functioned independently without too much competition from other players. However, Google's move into online calling when combined other services such as Whatsapp and Viber have placed pressure on Skype to evolve its offering—and the service has done just that.
A new TVC, launched in the UK last week, tells the story of a travel photographer struggling with the language barrier in mainland China. Later, the clip shifts to a scene where the protagonist is sitting in front of a computer about to Skype with a Chinese friend who isn't proficient in English. Fortunately, this communication barrier is quickly removed by Skype's new real-time translation service, which converts English into Mandarin (and vice versa), enabling the pair to have conversation.
According to The Verge, the feature was demonstrated back in 2012, but this is the first time that it has been made avaialable to the public. And, in addition to interchanging English and Mandarin, it also allows for Italian and Spanish to be translated.
And given the Skype tradition of heartfelt ads, it's only a matter of time before a long-distance, cross-cultural love story is commercialised.