Skype 4.0 Beta 2 Available Wednesday

Wednesday, October 1, the second beta release of Skype 4.0 will become available for worldwide testing. Via a mix of feedback channels involving legacy users and new users, bug reporting and usability issue forums and direct surveys that resulted in over 45,000 participants’ responses and feedback, Skype learned:

  • 70% were in favor of the new “large desktop” user interface; about 30% wanted to return to the traditional compact user interface.
  • users were looking for improved means of organizing contacts by groups
  • there exists a lack of awareness that Skype offered more conversation modes than simply free voice calls
  • problems with how IM presented itself to the new user
  • users were missing Instant messages and other events due to a lack of appropriate notification procedures

As a result Skype 4.0 beta 2 includes:

  • user choice of a default “large desktop” view or a compact view
  • organization of contacts by categories (the term “Groups” now refers to a multitude of users within a conversation such as in a Group Chat, Public chat or on a multi-party call); with several default categories)
  • new drop down menu to select “Categories” from the “Contacts” tab
  • new algorithms for message and missed call notification, with the initial notification coming via a tag on the Skype System Tray icon so as not to make the notification activity overwhelming
  • a new way to display a selected Contact’s information when in a call or chat session
  • several options for resizing the user information, the video images, the chat area of a conversation, etc.
  • entry of PSTN phone numbers into a Contact’s information on your local PC for those Contacts who have not included these phone numbers in their Skype user profile: mobile, home, office, other.

Skype for Windows Product Manager Mike Bartlett has prepared a video to demonstrate some of the new features:

And you can download Skype 4.0 Beta 2 here.

Skype 4.0 Beta 2 has the same caveat as we issued for Skype 4.0 Beta 1: this is beta software, there will be bugs and may even be usability issues. This is your opportunity to provide feedback. It is still missing some features of Skype 3.8, the last officially released version of Skype, such as Call History and creation of Public Chats. Do not use it as your primary Skype interface, especially if you depend on Skype for business or professional communications. I am still running Skype 3.8 on my laptop; I run Skype 4.0 Beta on my desktop PC.

Phil will be posting tomorrow with more details on his experience.

Hint: to activate the Contact Categories feature, go to Contacts | Contact Categories | See All Contact Categories.

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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