I’ve just had to reinstall Skype for my wife and found out there’s a new version, Skype 5.0. When I was done installing it, the user interface looked very different from what I was used to.
The contact sidebar now shows your contacts’ profile images next to their availability status, making them appear more real and personal and actually encouraging you to give them a call.
There is now a Profile tab, with a status update box at the top and profile photos of your 10 most frequently used contacts. When you post a status update, it is added to your update history below your friend list.
Much to my surprise, it also contained a Facebook tab!
This once free-calling application turned paid-Internet-telephony-solution-for-the-masses is now fully integrated with Facebook, allowing you to check your wall updates, “like” things, post comments and updates, see a list of your friends and call your friends straight from Skype. Alas, clicking any other link takes you to your web browser and into some Facebook page.
Of course, there is now a way to import your Facebook friends into your Skype contact list for good measure, but the Facebook tab makes calling them on Skype so easy, it almost seems unnecessary, even if it does make sense.
This is a very clever way for Skype to gain market share, given Facebook’s enormous reach of over half a billion users. Facebook already has chat, but not Internet telephone with or without video.
Just thought you’d like to know,