Major new Skype releases don't come often, but when they do, they tend to bring interesting new functionality along with them. When Skype 4.0 arrived in February 2009, it introduced a new interface and improved call quality. Today, Skype has released version 5.0 of its voice-over-IP software, adding group video calling, Facebook integration, and a tweaked version of the 4.0 interface.
According to the official announcement, group video calling is still in beta, but users can take it for a spin right away:
People who download the new Skype will receive a free trial of group video calling in beta for a chance to try out video calling with more than two people. The dynamic view makes it easy to follow along on group video calls by automatically moving the focus to the person speaking on the call.
Skype 5.0 also brings a usability enhancement: automatic recovery from dropped calls. In the words of the press release, the feature "helps users quickly reconnect calls that are interrupted due to Internet connection problems." Here's hoping this version doesn't force me to toggle my mic off and on again in the audio devices screen to be heard. You can grab Skype 5.0 here for Windows.
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