Announced on the official Skype blog earlier today, the communications company released new versions of Skype for both Mac and Windows that include the ability to connect to Facebook. After installing Skype 5.4 Beta for Mac or Skype 5.7 Beta for Windows, users can click the Facebook icon on the left side of the screen and authorize Skype to access Facebook data through the Facebook Connect button. However, users have to agree to release a bevy of information from Facebook in order to activate the Facebook functionality. The software brings in the Facebook feed of both previous Skype contacts as well as all Facebook friends. Similar to the Facebook feed, users can like updates from friends in addition to reading or adding new comments on previous status updates.
The implementation of Facebook Connect includes regular text chatting as well as video chat. When a call is placed through the Skype software, the user on Facebook can accept the call and a video chat window pops-up on the Facebook screen. Ideally, this will eventually allow Facebook users to place calls to anyone running an active version of Skype rather than being logged into Facebook at the time. Other updates to the software include group sharing with a premium subscription for Windows users and video rendering for users of the Mac version. Group screen sharing allows users to show each other screenshots, definitely helpful when attempting to perform remote tech support for family or clients.
Just last month, Microsoft completed the acquisition of Skype for an estimated $8.5 billion. Microsoft is expected to integrate the Windows Phone platform with Skype and will likely include Skype within Microsoft’s upcoming social network called Soci. The social network is expected to include video chatting capability that creates a video chatting “party” between friends.