Microsoft today has released an update for the popular voice over IP, messaging and video calling software Skype. Skype 5.8 for Windows is currently only available on the Skype homepage and not via the program's update checker. Existing Skype users who click on Help > Check for Updates are receiving notifications that they are running the latest version. It is likely that the updater is going to pick up the new version later today.
Skype users who try to update by downloading Skype 5.8 from the official website will notice that they need to log in on Skype before they can do so. Users who do not want to do that can download the latest (English) version from download portals such as Softpedia instead.
Skype 5.8 introduces several new and improved features in the Windows client. A blog post at the Skype website provides information about those changes.
The release brings full HD video calling if you happen to own a Logitech C920 webcam and have at least 2 Mbps of upload and download speed available, beta support for Facebook audio and video calling from within Skype, and group screen sharing which allows "users to share their entire screen or a single application window with other participants on a conference call while continuing to stream video".
The group sharing feature could open up new applications for Skype, for instance as a tool for presentations.
Skype 5.8 furthermore supports Push to Talk now which allows Skype users to set a hotkey with which they can toggle the microphone on or off. Skype users can enable the Toggle mute hotkey (Push-to-talk) under Tools > Options > Advanced > Hotkeys.
The blog post mentions two features that are not explained further. First the Skype updater service, which may indicate the move to an updating service for the Skype software from an in-software updater, and the Bing toolbar integration.
Update: Skype automatically enabled "Start Skype when I start Windows" after upgrading to the latest version. You can disable that option under Tools > Options > General Settings.Advertisement
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