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Skype closes Windows gap with improved Facebook integration

Just five weeks after releasing its last update, Skype has unveiled beta version 5.4 of its Mac client. The new update promises to add improved Facebook integration, as well as bring the Mac version of the popular VOIP software more in line with Skype for Windows.

Throughout the year Skype, which was snapped up by Microsoft in May, has rolled out updates quickly for Mac. Improvements have so far included interface enhancements, HD video calling, and support for Mac OS X Lion. The 5.4 beta update now further unifies the Mac and Windows versions of the application, meaning Mac users will no longer lack features that previously only Windows users could enjoy. Chief among those features: improved integration with the Facebook social networking service.

Before this latest release, if Mac users wanted to place a video call to Facebook friends, they would have to visit Facebook's website to do so; Windows users had the option to call directly, either from within Skype or via the social network.

By downloading the latest update, Mac users will be able to IM and video chat with contacts without needing to leave Skype. In addition, users can also access their news feed and update their Facebook status in addition to commenting on and liking other people's status updates. Connecting to Facebook from Skype can be done by clicking on one tab.

By bringing both Mac and Windows in sync with each other, Skype says its improving the user experience: Users can now be in contact with friends irrespective of what platform they are on.

The 5.4 Beta is available now; you can download it from Skype's website. It needs Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later to run.

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