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Skype, one of the most popular audio & video chat clients worldwide, has released version 5.0 out of beta and is now available for download. The release is Windows-only for now and they are working on bringing this release’s features out to other operating systems.

The new Skype release brings 2 major new features to the platform.

Facebook Integration

Skype brings this into their app in 2 major ways — the Facebook timeline now appears in your main Skype window. This is the basic timeline that shows up on your facebook page:

skype facebook integration

It also brings your Facebook contact list into Skype, giving you access to everyone (who has allowed it) from Facebook.

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skype facebook integration

Group video beta

Skype video chat used to be one-on-one only with no way to bring other participants in. With 5.0, Skype increases this to 5 maximum video chat users. I could really see this being popular with family groups for keeping in touch over long distances. I’ve known many grandparents who just go crazy about Skype after learning it can connect them with their children and grandchildren scattered all over the world.

skype facebook integration

The group video feature is free while in beta although Skype has hinted that this might be a pay function in the future. It uses the H.264 video codec, licensed from SPIRIT, which might be why they may charge for its use when it leaves beta.

Skype has also released some other features along with version 5.0. For the full list, read here. A summary:

  • Skype Home Dashboard
  • Contact List Integration with Facebook
  • Offline instant messaging
  • New contact search and improved contact adding
  • Enhanced call quality experience
  • User interface refresh

Skype will now automatically reconnect if a call is dropped due to connectivity or network slowness. This should help users have ‘seamless’ conversations with each other. The offline messaging is also a nice feature to have. It will leave a message for your contacts who may not be online. Once they log back in, the message is displayed to them.

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