On a scale of Marie Kondo to Fyre Festival, how messy is your apartment right now? Thanks to Skype’s latest feature, your job interviewer/coworker/grandma/whomever you’re video chatting with will never have to find out.
Microsoft announced Wednesday that Skype users now have the ability to blur their background for video conferences, so that people can focus on them rather than the surrounding clutter of uneaten cheese sandwiches in forgotten styrofoam takeout boxes or, if you are on the KonMari end of the spectrum, company secrets scrawled out on a nearby whiteboard.
First introduced to Microsoft Teams (formerly Skype for Business) last year, background blur “uses artificial intelligence (AI)—trained in human form detection—to keep you in focus during your call,” the company blog explains. “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.”
Some people have already taken to Twitter to showcase what the blurred background looks like:
There are clear advantages to not having to worry about what’s happening behind you during an important call—just like you already don’t have to worry about wearing pants during video interviews.
According the blog, blurred backgrounds could come in handy when “you’re being interviewed on live television and your adorable child comes marching into the room”—referencing Professor Robert Kelly’s iconic video interview on BBC, during which his adorable toddler sashayed into the room and stole the show.
Millions of people who enjoyed the video are probably happy that it wasn’t obscured.
Those who appreciate the humanizing component of a little clutter can take some comfort in Skype’s warning. In spite of its best efforts, the platform “cannot guarantee that your background will always be blurred”—which leaves some room for technically messy moments that could spark a lot of joy.