Turmoil from the now approved Microsoft takeover and the management shake-up at the top notwithstanding, Skype has pushed the beta version of its latest and greatest client software for Windows. Skype 5.5 Beta is now available, bringing an even deeper Facebook integration and a few visual and UI tweaks."We are excited to announce the new Skype 5.5 Beta version for Windows, which enhances the user experience and features new updates to Skype based on user feedback," Skype announced.
The big new feature is complete Facebook integration. Until now, users could see their friends' status updates and call them via Skype if those friends included a phone number with their profile.
Skype is taking it one big step forward with Facebook chat support as well as a full Facebook contacts list. You can also like or comment on your friends' status updates now.
"Skype is also continuing to bring people together whenever they are apart by introducing an easier way to connect with family and friends on Facebook. You can now instant message your Facebook friends directly from Skype, helping you stay connected with the people that matter the most to you," the announcement read.
"Simply use the new Facebook contacts tab within Skype to see when a Facebook friend you want to chat with is online and then start an IM conversation right from within," it added.
There are already several means of chatting with Facebook friends and several desktop and mobile clients support the service. But integration with Skype is a great feature if you are already running it all the time.
That's not all that's new in Skype 5.5 Beta, the Call Control toolbar is getting a visual upgrade with new icons. There are also improvements to the way a phone number is saved in the "Call Phones" section.
Skype 5.5 Beta for Windows is available for download here.