Following months of beta testing Skype 5 for Windows is now officially here with Facebook integration adding a whole new social aspect to the VoIP service.
Facebook integration in Skype 5 means users can for the first time import contacts direct from their Facebook Phonebook and call them at the touch of a button. News Feeds are also imported from the social media service, allowing Skype users to stay up to speed on all of their friends’ goings on without leaving the program.
Other new features to Skype 5 allow users to request Facebook friends’ numbers with one click, and set their Mood Message to be the same as your Facebook status.
For the first time in Skype 5 profile pictures are made public allowing for the easier search of common names whilst Mood Messages also show up in the phonebook, allowing users to see what friends are doing before they call.
Group video calling is another new addition to the heavily refreshed Skype service, although it’s still in beta for the time being. The new face-to-face chatting service will allow for up to 10 people on a single call at once, with Dynamic Mode reacting to sound, making whoever’s speaking appear bigger on the screen. If two people have a chat while everyone else stays quiet, they’ll be larger than the rest. If you’re holding a video call with 10 people Skype recommends an internet connection of 1024 kbits per second, and a computer with a Core 2 Duo or Intel i7. It supports up to 640x480 VGA up to 30 frames per second, so no HD.
Although exact dating is still waiting in the wings, Skype bosses have promised that a Mac-compatible version of the new Skype 5 service will be available later in the year.