Introducing Skype 5.0 Beta, Now with Group Video Chat
Skype (news, site) 5.0 Beta is here, and along with it is the ability to video conference with more than two people. Hallelujah. 

One on One

While Skype's one-on-one style might've cut it a couple of years ago, the need for group conferencing is increasing right alongside the uprising of collaborative mobile solutions. As a result, Skype 5.0 Beta -- released last week -- lets up to five people join a single video conference call:


The catch is that you have to be a Windows user, but the Skype team claims they'll be rolling the feature out for Mac users later in the year. 

"Group video calling is just one in a set of new premium features you'll see us roll out during 2010," wrote Peter Parkes of Skype on the company's official blog. "We haven't set prices for these premium features yet, but rest assured that we're still absolutely committed to bringing you free voice and two-way video calling."

Learning Opportunities

Meanwhile, Skype's competition is also working hard.  Cisco, for example, recently dropped US$ 3.4 billion on a video communications vendor  called Tandberg, and Paltalk lets up to 10 users video chat in a standard web browser, without the need to download or install anything. 

Get It While It's Hot Free

You can try Skype 5.0 Beta for free (and at your own risk) by downloading it here. Parkes urges you to remember that because this is a beta version, "there might be a few rough edges, might not work perfectly every time."

There's no date for an official release scheduled yet, but if you want you can contribute to a better solution by completing a survey here