Less than three months ago, a beta version of Skype was unveiled that boasted a number of new features. The latest update to the popular VoIP tool sees the software jumping straight to version 5.8, finalizing some of the features found in the beta and adding a couple more for good measure. There are a number of highlights to Skype 5.8, and there is a great deal to investigate if you have not been keeping track of the beta versions of the software.
Conducting video chats has for too long been a blocky, stuttering affair, plagued with poor quality footage -- not just in Skype, but in general -- but support for full HD video-calling, assuming you have a suitable camera and a fast enough internet connection, means that this is set to change for Skype users. Video calls are great not only for personal Skype chats, but also for business meetings, and in the same vein the new group screen sharing is an interesting new addition. If you have a Skype Premium account, during the course of a group chat you can now share your entire desktop or just a single application window.
Another change to video calling will interest Facebook users. For some time, it has been possible to access your Facebook contacts from within Skype, but there is now also the option of conducting video and audio chats with friends on Facebook, even if they are not running Skype themselves. While it is likely that your Skype contact list is fairly compact, there is a high chance that your Facebook friend list is somewhat more extensive. To help make this easier to manage, offline Facebook contacts can be hidden from view to help reduce the length of the list to a more manageable size.
Push to talk is a technology that has been implemented in some cell phone apps, making it possible to conduct walkie-talkie style conversations. Bringing this same option to Skype is something that will be welcomed by gamers as well as anyone who keeps Skype running at all times but does not want to have to keep stopping and starting an audio chat. The new feature means that a keyboard shortcut can be configured to toggle the mute status of your microphone -- while the shortcut is pressed you can speak, but the moment you release the keys you will no longer be heard.
Full details of the changes and additions that have been made to Skype can be found at the Skype Garage blog. You can find out more and download the latest version of the app by paying a visit to the Skype 5.8 review page.