Skype 5.8 was released last week. There was a buzz of activity as Microsoft released an update to the Windows version of Skype. This bodes well for the direction that their partnership is taking. If you had enabled the option to check for the latest version enabled (under Help > Check for Updates), then you will receive notifications about the latest version.
You can also download the latest version here.
HD video calling
A wonderful new world of clear video chat is open for all those who have atleast 2 Mbps download speeds. They have also specified that you would need to own an HD camera like the Logitech C920 webcam.
Group screen sharing
You can share your screen or a single application window with other members in a conference call. Check this option under “+” > Share my screen. Unfortunately, group video conference is still not free. I prefer Google+ hangout over this. However, there is no question that Skype rules if quality matters.
Audio and video calling for Facebook friends
My favorite new feature that allows you to call your friends on Facebook even if they are not on Skype.
Push to Talk
It has hot keys that enable the microphone. Check out this option under Tools > Options > Advanced > Hotkeys. This feature is supposed to be useful for gamers who can use it to mute or unmute the microphone.
Bing Bar Integration
This is the fruit of the set up between Microsoft and Skype. This feature has not been elaborated in their release notes.
As usual, Skype has the “automatically sign into skype option” enabled. This can be removed under under Tools > Options > General Settings.
Do not forget the upcoming Windows Phone 8 (aka Apollo) that will include great new features like NFC (Near Field Communication), Data Smart (to prioritize Wifi connections), will no doubt have Skype strongly wrapped up in the package too. The new Windows Phone OS is quite amazing already. Having arrived late into the mobile industry, it is very important that Microsoft differentiates its products very definately.