Skype 5.6 for Mac includes automatic updates, an improved user interface, full-screen mode in OS X Lion, the ability to delete conversations and an awesome beta feature that connects Skype users to their Facebook accounts.
Skype + Facebook
I never had a problem with Skype on my Mac, so I didn't realize what I was missing before 5.6 rolled out. To update to the latest release, launch Skype and select Check for Updates under Skype in the menu.
If you click on What's New before actually updating Skype, you'll get a nice preview of what's packed into 5.6 for Mac. The big news is a beta feature that allows you to call your Facebook friends from Skype. Now you can also see your Facebook newsfeed in Skype and send your friends instant messages from Skype to Facebook.
After downloading and installing the update, relaunch Skype to see your new features. Next time an update rolls out, Skype will update itself, or you can disable automatic updates in the Preferences menu.
How Well Does the Beta Feature Work?
It's awesome! After updating to Skype 5.6, I connected my account to Facebook and tried calling three friends. My first friend, Devin, needed to install a .jar file before chatting with me, which Facebook prompted him to do with a Click ok to set up video chatting message. He then messaged me on Skype to call him back, which I did. After my second attempt, we were connected.
My second friend, Ian, didn't even know I was calling him, but he quickly answered my Skype call on Facebook with no problems at all. In fact, he was surprised and impressed with how easy it was and how clearly we could see and hear each other.
And my third friend, Amit, also needed to install the .jar file, which he quickly did and then I automatically got a call back from him via Facebook. He wasn't even aware that he was calling me back.
Other Mac Tricks
Mac users can switch conversations in Skype by swiping the trackpad with three fingers, as explained on the Skype for Mac tricks and tips page. Also, if you're in the middle of a video call and need to switch to another app, you can still see the person on the call via a mini-window floating on top of the app you have opened.
Other tips include the ability to mute a call by pressing CMD + SHIFT + M, mark a message as unread by pressing CMD + SHIFT + U and then hold CTRL + OPTION + CMD + UpArrow on your keyboard to un-mute the call.
Should You Upgrade?
Frankly, the ability to call Facebook friends from Skype is reason enough to try the latest version of Skype for Mac. If you're like me, you have plenty of friends and family members who are tech-savvy enough to be on Facebook, but who aren't on Skype or G+ yet. Well played, Skype. Well played.
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