Windows loyalists get the first bite of the new Skype version. The official Skype 18.104.22.168 beta version for Windows is now available for free download at this address: http://www.skype.com/intl/en/get-skype/on-your-computer/windows/beta/. Skype developers have responded to fulfill the most requested feature by users with this upgrade. This beta version now comes with a free trial of Group Video Calling. It is now possible to do 5-way group conference, meaning you can call up to 4 of your friends at the same time and everybody can see and hear each other simultaneously. Needless to say, all of your group mates should have the same beta version 22.214.171.124 installed to make this work. Also take note that this version won’t be supporting Windows 2000 anymore.
This group video calling feature is just pure kickass. I am one of those who have been badgering Skype engineers to include this option. I am glad they caved in this time. The ever-increasing internet bandwidth available should make this group video conferencing a boon to millions of users around the world. We will only need a decent computer with enough RAM to make 5-way video calling smooth and stutter-free. Too bad it won’t be free once this version goes official. Again it is only free during the beta trial so better maximize your experience with it. Mac OS X and Linux users as usual won’t be enjoying this bonanza until the end of 2010.
In addition, this beta includes a revamped call view. Since group calling is now possible, developers have made it possible to filter conversation so users can still have privacy. Here is a list of other fixes and add-ons for version 126.96.36.199.
New Features of Skype 5.0 Beta Version:
- Up to 5-way group video call
- Redesigned calling experience
- Improved video snapshots gallery
- Improved browser plugins performance on some websites.
- Reduced false positives on browser plugin phone number recognition.
- Call host is not displayed anymore in the user interface
- Windows 2000 is not supported in this Beta version
- Microsoft Lifecam Show webcamera crashed Skype
- CPU usage was high on low-end computers during video calls when using a TouchCam N1 or Twincam encoding camera
- ‘Test’ button name was changed to ‘Record’ after testing
- Skype did not always ring on all audio devices when it was selected to.
- Accessibility was always turned on
- Skype browser plugins for Internet Explorer and Firefox ignored meta tags not to highlight phone numbers.
- Skype browser plugin may have hanged or frozen Internet Explorer browser.
- Refreshing webpage turned off phone number highlighting in Internet Explorer browser.
- Skype browser plugin highlighting tags become visible in webmail
- The Skype browser plugin highlighted phone numbers and names while creating content on various popular websites.
- Skype sometimes crashed when importing contacts through welcome screen.
- Only one field change was saved when editing phone contacts.
- Skype sounds were not working over remote desktop