Skype made available a new beta version of the communication software for the Windows operating system today which introduces several new features in the Windows client. Facebook users who - for whatever reason - did not want to create a Skype account until now can now use their Facebook login instead. What this means is that all Facebook users can log into Skype directly with their login credentials without creating a Skype account first.
It is not the first cooperation of Microsoft and Facebook. Facebook previously added Skype video chat to the chat feature of the website, and Microsoft integrated Facebook features into its Bing search engine.
Microsoft account owners can sign in with their account as well without having to create a Skype account first. Users who do that benefit from the following feature: the ability to send and receive instant messages from friends using Messenger, Xbox, Hotmail or Outlook.com. Users in addition see the status of their contacts in Skype as well.
You can link your Microsoft or Facebook account to Skype if you log in with the third party credentials to display a combined list of contacts in Skype
Skype 5.11 furthermore supports 6 new languages, Thai, Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian, Catalan and Slovak, a back catalog of all profile photos used in the software, and an updated design.
The features are currently available in Skype 5.11 for Windows Beta. Please note that the beta installer contains opt-out offers to make Bing the default search engine and MSN the default homepage in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome.
The Microsoft account or Facebook sign in options become only available when you are not logged into the Skype software.
When you sign in with Facebook or the Microsoft account, you will be redirected to a log in page where you need to enter your account credentials of the selected service. You are then redirected to a page where you can link a Skype account, if you have one, to the account you have justed signed in with.
If you select I have a Skype account you are asked to log in to the account as well. You are then asked to merge the accounts in the last step.
Once done you will notice that all of your Skype contacts, and Facebook or Microsoft account contacts, are listed together in the contacts list. The contact source, e.g. messenger, is listed below the name in the contact list.
Integration of Facebook and Microsoft account move Skype in the direction of becoming an all-in-one messaging application. While there is still some work to be done in this regard, as support for major networks is still missing, it is a step in the right direction that is improving Skype's appeal to users who use several networks to communicate. (via Skype blog)