Thursday, June 19, 2008

Skype 4.0 Beta

skype logoSkype has began public beta testing of its newest software Skype 4.0. The new version aims to make casual video chatting more common among users. The new software client, which can be downloaded here (for Windows only), takes up a larger portion of the screen with video front and center.

"Skype users are communicating in many different modes--often at the same time," said Josh Silverman, a veteran eBay executive who took charge of Skype as president this year.

"We thought it was time for software to take that into account," Silverman said in a phone interview with Reuters' Eric Auchard. "Now video is really bringing together all those modes of communication."

Besides the redesigned enhanced UI the biggest major change in Skype 4.0 is that the entire experience is now centered around conversations and managing those conversations. Whether those are with groups of people or just individual converstations. Skype 4.0 lets you import contacts from Outlook, Outlook Express, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail. Skype continues to snub Google by not including Gmail import features.

There are also other improvements, such as automatic detection when you plug in a new headset or if your laptop lacks a built-in microphone. It also has software tools for testing your audio and video quality. All in all, Skype 4.0, as it should be, is a step forward.

For more information on the Skype 4.0 beta checkout the Skype Blog

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