Skype 5.0 for Windows has just been released with a number of improvements and feature additions most significant of which is the inclusion of a Facebook tab(confirming rumors that had been floating around). It allows users to SMS, chat or call their Facebook friends via Skype right from the News Feed.
Skype on Facebook is obviously a big win for both companies as users spend a lot of time on the most popular social network as well as on the free online voice and video chat service.
By clicking on the home icon, the Skype Home area expands housing the new Facebook tab. This is where you can go to view your Facebook News Feed and Phonebook inside Skype.
The Facebook News Feed option will display a list of activities identical to Facebook’s News Feed. Below each status updates there are two noticeable Skype buttons namely SMS or Call. The buttons only appear if Facebook friends have included their phone number in their Facebook profile.
If the friend is a mutual connection on Skype, you’ll also have the option to initiate a free Skype call. And, if the Facebook friend is not already a Skype connection, but both of you are on Skype at the same time, the same free Skype call option is visible and an additional plus button will show up so you can add the Facebook friend as a Skype contact.
The newsfeed on Skype includes a text-entry box to update your Facebook status. You can also make your Facebook status update your Skype mood status or vice versa. Your Facebook newsfeed in Skype will only let you add text updates or links; advanced features such as attaching video links with a screenshot, posting photos, videos or creating events from the status update bar are not present.
Group Video Chat
Skype 5.0 for Windows includes a beta release of its group video chat feature that allows chatting with up to nine other people at once. However, Skype recommends keeping most group video chats to five people or less depending on the user’s bandwidth. A video call can be started by clicking on Contacts>Create New Group and then dragging contacts into the Group space in the right pane of the Skype window.
To add more people to an ongoing video call one simply needs to click on the “Add people” link at the bottom of the chat window. Skype group video chat will be free to all users until November 11. Group video chat requires that all users are running Skype 5.0 for Windows.
Automatic Call Recovery
Skype without any doubt annoys by dropping calls that go on the past 15 minutes or so. Therefore to improve call dependability Skype 5.0 will now automatically try to reconnect dropped calls. The application will also offer tips and advice to help the user diagnose the problem and avoid dropped calls in the future.
Skype has also added some other tweaks, including an improved full-screen video chat to accommodate all those extra people user watches during group video chat.