Skype 6.0 has been released with many new features and closer integration with Microsoft products – perhaps this is not surprising as Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for Skype last year and need to start recouping their investment. Some of the main new features include:
- Microsoft and Facebook Account Integration – you can now sign into Skype using your Microsoft (Messenger, Hotmail or Xbox) or Facebook account – there is no need to create a new Skype account (but you still can if you prefer).
- IM friends on Messenger – Instant Message your Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail and Outlook.com contacts via Skype (you must be signed in with your Microsoft account to do this).
- Calling with Messenger friends (coming soon) – Skype are working on polishing a feature which will enable audio and video calls to Windows Live Messenger customers using Skype desktop clients (you must be signed in with your Microsoft account). The feature will be available in coming weeks.
- Visual user interface refresh – refreshed and flattened the Skype UI (User Interface) with a simpler and less cluttered look. They have also updated the look of the instant messaging and SMS areas.
- Removal of online user count – removed the online user counter at the bottom of your Skype Contacts list to declutter the UI.
- Display previously created profile pictures – if you want to change your Skype profile picture, you will now see all your previous Skype profile pictures. This is useful if you want to revert back to a previous image that you used in the past.
- Skype localized to six more languages – adds new localized versions of Skype in Thai, Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian, Catalan and Slovak. Total number of languages supported by Skype is now 38.
- Improved telemetry – added additional “opt-in” telemetry reports for users who choose this option – the option is available from the Skype Tools menubar, then select ‘Options’ then ‘Advanced. then tick “Help improve Skype…” These reports may contain your Skype ID and/or Microsoft Account ID but will not be used to identify or contact you.
Skype 6.0 for Mac Desktop – Mac users get a couple of extra features:
- Open Chats in Multiple Windows – added support to open chats in multiple windows.
- Retina Display Support – added support for Retina display.
Download Skype 6.0 – The new version of Skype for Windows is 22.214.171.124 and Skype for Mac is 126.96.36.19946. It appears that the new version of Skype is only available as a full setup program (perhaps because it is a major new version) – a welcome improvement over the previous online web installers.
Skype 6.0 includes several new features which only become available if you login with your Microsoft account.
Improved IM capabilities in Skype and increased focus on integrating it with Microsoft products suggest that Windows Live Messenger (WLM) may end up becoming the poor relation of the IM family – it is worth noting that WLM didn’t receive a refresh in August’s release of Windows Essentials 2012…