Earlier this week Skype released Skype 5.8 for Windows as a gold release. It brings to all users features that have been creeping into recent beta versions including:
- Full HD video calling (720p and 1080p @ 30 fps) provided you have an appropriate webcam and sufficient Internet upload speed
- check out Logitech C920 Webcam: for a Superior Skype Video Calling Experience for more details
- Group Screen sharing – where a participant in a Group Video call can share either a window or the full desktop with up to ten participants; this requires that the host of the call have a Skype Premium subscription
- Check out Skype for Windows 5.6: Call Monitor, Enhanced Screen Sharing – and Ads! for a discussion on how Skype’s screen sharing works.
- Hiding offline Facebook contacts (Contacts | Hide Contacts Who | Are offline); in addition to hiding Offline Skype contacts
- Push-to-Talk – for multiplayer gamers – allows users to set a hotkey to toggle microphone muting on a Skype call
- Bing Bar integration (is this the first sign of a Microsoft integration?)
It’s a two screen upgrade process – in my case it took about five minutes as I have over three years of Skype chat conversations stored on my local PC; they still come in very handy using the search feature (Ctrl-F).
Video calling to Facebook users (independent from whether they have a Skype account) is still in beta but included with this release. What does beta mean? While it works quite well, there are still some issues to work through and still needs to address more feedback from user experiences:
- Need to be able to select speakers in FB window in addition to webcam and microphone
- Call from Skype to Facebook contact: when sending 720p 16:9 aspect ratio from Logitech C920 on Skype side; image on FB side is distorted to 4:3 aspect ratio – recipient on FB side should be able to see 16:9 aspect ratio
You can download this latest release by going to “Help | Check for Updates” in your Skype for Windows client or downloading here.