announced today that the latest beta version of Skype 5.0 would up the ante in terms of group video chat, as well as introduce a more stable and sleeker experience for its Windows users.Skype
When the company first introduced group chat in May, it limited the number of participants to five, but now it has doubled that number to 10.
This limitation was one of the primary things we focused on when we looked at the new feature, which we immediately compared to free, Web-based services like Tiny Chat. As we noted then, Tiny Chat offered more than double the number of live video/audio streams, with 12 users per room, but now Skype barely lags behind. The Skype blog offers words of warning on how to use Skype's video chat feature with your friends and family:
Note that everyone in a group video call now needs to be running this version, so if your friends, family or colleagues are using Beta 1, they'll have to upgrade before you can include them in group video calls.
In addition to the increased video chat features, the second beta of Skype 5.0 brings a "refreshed user interface" along with a Skype Home "where you can follow your contacts' mood messages, set your profile picture and mood message, receive account notifications and learn more about using Skype."
While the company says it has fixed some stability issues, it notes that this is still a beta version so some bugs are to be expected. The second beta version of Skype 5.0 is available for download now.