After several beta versions over the past few months, the ever-popular VoIP chat client Skype has been officially updated to version 5. As in previous Skype updates there are a number of performance enhancements and bug fixes, but there are also two key new features in the form of group video and Facebook integration.
While Skype 5.0 is an official and final release, the group video feature is still technically a beta version. However, the option functions well and makes it possible to hold video conference calls with several other people simultaneously.
The second key new feature is Facebook integration. At its most basic level, this means that it is now possible to keep up to date with the status updates of all of your Facebook contacts from within Skype so there is no need to visit the Facebook web site using your browser.
It is also possible to update your own Facebook status from within Skype and there is also the option of using your status as your Skype mood. At this stage it is not possible to use Facebook chat through Skype, although you do have the option of using Skype to send SMSs or place a phone call from within the application.
For the time being, Mac users will not have the Facebook features available to them in Skype as they are currently Windows-only options. Future version of the Mac version of Skype will enable these options.
Another handy feature of Skype 5.0 is automatic call recovery. This means that should a call ever drop connection for any reason, Skype will automatically redial and re-establish a connection as soon as possible.