Skype woos users with deep Facebook integration

Faith Merino · June 20, 2011 · Short URL:

Now you can chat with Facebook friends directly from Skype

Hot off its massive $8.5 billion acquisition by Microsoft, Skype has announced its latest iteration: Skype 5.5 beta for Windows, which includes a host of new features, including free video calls with three or more people, as well as a new feature that lets you chat with any of your Facebook friends directly from Skype.

The new and improved Skype now includes much deeper Facebook integration, allowing you to create a contact list just for your Facebook friends, browse your Facebook news feed and even like and comment on status updates, and chat instantly with Facebook friends. By clicking on the Facebook contact list tab, you can see which of your Facebook friends are online and chat with them instantly via Skype. For them, the chat will show up via the chat tab on Facebook.

So, in essence, what this means is there is now no way to avoid those people that you friended on Facebook out of politeness—who also seem to be the same people that want to chat every time they see you sign onto Facebook. Now they can watch you from afar, so just when you think it’s safe to browse your Facebook feed, Bam! They got you! The new Skype 5.5 leaves nowhere to hide…

The good news for those of us who don’t relish the idea of being spied from afar (and the bad news for people who like to launch Facebook chat attacks) is that the 5.5 beta version is still a little buggy, so while I’ve downloaded the new version, I have yet to be able to pull up my Facebook contacts. But Skype warns that the new beta version is still a work in progress, so there will likely be some initial bugs.

Also included in the new version is the ability to send text messages to friends’ mobile phones directly from Skype, video chat with more than one person for free, and more. The update also features some visual improvements as well, including upgrades to saving phone numbers in the “Call Phones” section and putting a call on hold. 

Last week, Skype teamed up with Comcast to bring video calls to users' TV sets. 

Microsoft's acquisition of Skype was officially approved by the FTC over the weekend.

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