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By 3 February 2012 | Categories: news

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Skype this week released an update to its popular voice over IP programme for Windows, which adds a few new features.
 
The main additions of the update (Version 5.8) include full HD video-calling, support for Facebook audio and video calling, the ability to hide offline Facebook contacts, group screen sharing and a Bing toolbar integration.
 
The full HD video calling feature does come with a caveat though, as a full HD webcam is required. On its blog, the company makes particular mention of Logitech’s C920 webcam, which performs the video encoding internally, and enables full HD or HD video quality with older computers.
 
The real issue though is the site’s warning that users will need at least a 2 Mbps upload/download speed to enjoy full HD quality at its best. Our meagre 1 Mbps line apparently does not make the grade.
 
Facing facts
 
Even so, the new Facebook video integration feature certainly makes the free upgrade worth one’s while. After linking our Facebook account and waiting a little while for it to import our Facebook contact list, the new feature allows one to make Skype video calls to any Facebook friends who are online, irrespective of whether or not they are Skype users. 
 
Another new feature on offer in the update is Push To Talk. This is apparently at the request of those playing multiplayer games, and it allows users to set a hotkey to toggle microphone muting on a Skype call.
 
In our initial and admittedly cursory run-though of  some of these features, the new update is mostly the Skype we know and love. It did not take very long to install, although we did find that we had to manually start the update. Navigating to “Check for updates” under our previous version (5.5) returned a message that we already had the latest version, which as of yesterday is not correct.
 
To the point
 
Nonetheless, the new update did not causes any discernible issues on either of the two PCs we installed it on, nor did we experience any crashes that indicate the update wasn’t stable.
 
For the Skype faithful, especially those with a 2 Mbps line or higher, or those who just want video integration with their Facebook friends via Skype, we can’t think of any reason not to download Version 5.8.  

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