I did not expect this so soon; but Skype have released the next beta version of Skype.
On the Share Skype Blog they have announced it as of today. The features are listed as follows:
- Shared Groups
- Send SMS ability
- Easier SkypeOut calls and dialing
- Video no longer limited to Windows XP only
- Call Quality Helper
- Improved conference calling with voice meters
- Easier to buy Skype credit
- Easier Upgrades
The BIG ommision is they have not included the ability to record calls! This is a huge disapointment in my opinion, as a podcaster it would solve a lot of problems and issues. The world would be a better place if I did not have to go through the crap I do to produce our podcast if I could record Skype. In addition the quality of the podcast would be infinitely better. I really was hoping that this was in the deal.
Apart from that the features they have included seem cool. I have never seen the advantage in SMS – I don't use it myself and think that using a keypad with three or four letters to each to be a waste of my time. But I can see the advantage for others. And I suppose that from my computer; with keyboard attached it would be easy to send an SMS now.
As far as the other stuff the improvements to conference calling and groups might be interesting but to be honest I do not think that it would make a big difference to how I use Skype. Easier to buy Skype credit, well that's in their interest!
As far as call quality assistance, my call quality is fine and I know what causes the issues, and since I have a reasonable internet connection it is not usually a problem. It might however be of assistance to people that are not savvy with computers and want to use the technology. Not much help to me though.
So all in all this release isn't that ground breaking for me and the omission of recording calls is a major let down and disappointment.
Skype 2.5 Installed: I am Over my Hissy FitMay 7, 2006 — The Rooster
Well I was a "tad" peeved off that this release of Skype did not include a record function and I had decided that I wasn't downloading it until I got over that. But after some encouragement from Sebastian I decided to install it.
I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. The "new" Skype is not all that new, rather more functional. The install is all the same and that had no problems. The first really noticeable thing was that the audio quality is better and there is greater emphasis on that with the inclusion of a "quality monitor". Not sure how that works as I do not have that many issues related to audio quality because I have a pretty quick connection. The problems that do occur are usually related to lag or resources pressure on the other person or person's local machine. And that I am afraid is unavoidable.
I said that I did not think I would use the SMS function. But I have actually found myself using it a lot. Like today I have come online, I got a message that someone wanted to talk to me, they are online but not answering. So I have SMS'ed him and now he knows I am here: he is yet to turn up though. But I think that it is cool that I can do that. The reason that I hate SMS is the fact that it is a pain in the butt when I am used to a keyboard. Having the ability to SMS from Skype actually makes SMS more accessible to me. By the way any reply that is sent to an SMS that I send from Skype goes to my personal mobile, the recipient is none the wiser about where the SMS was sent from. Seamless; an in usual Skype fashion; "It just works".
By the way the cost of an SMS in Australia via Skype is 0.12 AUD and to send an SMS to the UK is 0.13 AUD. I was told today by a colleague that the cost to the UK is normally 0.35 AUD. Definatly a saving there.
I am yet to try the mass call function which can apparently support up to 100 people. I am also yet to investigate Skypecasts, not sure what that's all about but I think it has something to do with this new feature. The thing that bothers me a bit is the fact that when you want to join a Skypecast it says that it says Skype is making a SkypeOut call. Apparently, at this point in time they are not charging you for this service as reported by Andy Bramson. Andy also reports as to the origin of the SkypeOut call, interesting stuff. But I suppose that means they will have that option in the future, we will see what happens. Skypecasts are, as far as I can tell are community chats and conferencing. The scope of this is massive. Imaging a Podcast with 20 others listening, contributing and live! Awesome. Aparently there is a "virtual" microphone that can be handed out by the moderator. I am going to have to explore this as it looks exciting.
Topping up your Skype credit is much easier with 2.5. Which as I have said before is in the interest of Skype. That said it is much easier and it is secure.
There are some other minor additions like the fact that the modern ring-tone has changed yet again to something yet more nauseating! But they have included the "classic" ring-tone that we all love. That is my take on Skype 2.5.
Maybe in the final release they will just drop a record button in there…