Skype 5.0 is the latest release of the popular VoIP, instant messaging and chat tool.
A major addition in this version is the new Facebook tab, which provides easy access to your Facebook news stream. You can check what's going on with your friends, add comments and update your own status, all within Skype. And another click gives access to your phonebook, from where you can text or call your Facebook friends (free of charge, if they're also Skype users, potentially a real money-saver).
The program also currently includes a free trial of the group video calling feature, currently in beta. This lets you have a video chat with more than two people, intelligently moving the focus to the person who's speaking so it's easy to follow the conversation.
If you've had problems with connection quality before then you'll appreciate the new call quality manager, which monitors performance during a call and provides help on resolving problems.
And while poor quality calls might be down to line or internet issues that you can't control, Skype 5.0 now includes automatic call recovery, which quickly reconnects you when a connection has failed.
Elsewhere the Skype interface has been redesigned a little, making it easier to find your way around. If you're used to the program you'll still feel immediately at home, though, and in fact you can just install the new version and carry on as normal: your account details, contacts, conversations and more will all be immediately available in Skype 5.0.
Please note, although there are Windows, Mac and Linux versions of the Skype software, every one has a different version number. Skype for Windows is now at v5.x, whereas the Mac and Linux versions are still behind on v2.x. For most people, this isn’t a problem - you can still make audio calls, have a one-to-one video chat, type messages and swap files, irrespective of the version or operating system.
Business application that enables you to keep in contact with international partners, make cheap calls and much more. Excellent tool, let down but the inconsistency in development between different operating systems.