Skype and Facebook have been playing nice for some time now, but this week the VoIP provider announced deeper integration in version 5.5 Beta for Windows. 

Chatting Up a Storm

Skype users can now get their chat on by instant messaging Facebook friends directly from the VoIP platform via the new contacts tab, and Skype users can use the Facebook News Feed within Skype to “like” or comment on a friend's status without logging into Facebook.

Skype for Windows 5.5 beta also includes a redesigned call control toolbar and other visual adjustments. Updates break down like this in bullet form:

  • Facebook integration
  • Improved call controls
  • Improved video calling reliability
  • Changed group conversations profile area design
  • New login window design
  • Added a ability to start video calls via URI
  • Plus several bug fixes

The deeper integration with Facebook adds to the Skype 5.0 for Windows release, which introduced an entire tab dedicated to the social network allowing users to Skype call, chat or SMS their Facebook friends right from the news feed (so long as phone numbers were provided):

skype_fb_integration.jpg

All of this updating serves to tighten the ties between the leading social network and one of the net's most popular Internet telephony services, making cross platform communication fairly seamless.

Baby Steps

Facebook once flirted with purchasing Skype, but the sale ultimately went to Microsoft in May of this year for a whopping US$ 8.5 billion. The Federal Trade Commission officially approved the deal, leaving the rest up to the U.S. Justice Department. If all goes well, Skype will become the Microsoft Skype Division under the leadership of its current CEO Tony Bates.

Thankfully for users of the platform it doesn't look like Microsoft’s win is doing anything slow the Skype-Facebook combination, though Skype itself started making changes by nixing the Skype Extras Manager:

“Skype Extras Manager provided access to a number of third party applications like games, fax and call recorders. We stopped the development of Skype Extras on September 2009, because there were only a small number of people using the third party applications through Extras Manager, the next logical step was to remove it from our Windows client," read the official Skype Blog

Moreover, Skype has been making some personnel-focused decisions over the past few weeks as well. A number of Skype senior managers — including Strategy Vice President Christopher Dean and head of Skype for Business David Gurle — left the company.

Add all of this up and it's a lot of shifting and changing for the popular platform, making recent outages come as less of a shocker. 

You can download the new beta version of Skype here, or, if you're looking for something different, check out our list of alternatives