I’ve been using Skype 4.0 Beta since June and have grown from bemoaning the larger screen size to loving it. When I saw Skype 3 on a colleagues computer a few days ago I was shocked at how much functionality the new Skype has that he’s missing out on.
The 4.2 Beta added some extra tweaks, but 4.3 Beta is a great improvement for two main reasons (and neither of them is the fact they’ve reskinned it with a funky new design).
First and best is the Outlook integration which returns to Skype. As soon as Beta 3 is installed it’ll display all of your Outlook contacts that have telephone numbers. This means direct from Skype you can click to call using SkypeOut and never have to search for a phone number again. You contact’s main telephone number is displayed with mobile, office or home numbers shown as tabs.
Setting aside the convenience of click to call in Skype from Outlook this feature is almost certain to increase SkypeOut minutes which won’t do any harm to Skype’s already healthy profits.
The other significant change is the way history is handled, in Skype 4.3 Beta you can search all previous conversations and sort them (e.g. by calls, chats, file transfers etc). If you’re trying to find a previous conversation it’s not easy to find who was involved and what was said.
There are a few other tweaks, such as abuse reporting when you block a nuisance Skype contact, and improvements to call and video quality with a new Bandwidth Manager.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed Skype 4.0 Beta 3 you’ll need to check your settings – I needed to add my profile picture again and go into privacy settings to “Allow my status to be shown on the web”. (That’s what enables Skype buttons on webpages to show if I’m online and also allows potential buyers to contact me from my eBay listings).
Overall Beta 3 isn’t a revolutionary upgrade from Beta 2, it’s a polishing and refining of what’s already there and knocks a few of the rough edges off Skype. I love it!
You can download Skype 4.0 Beta 3 from the Skype website. (If you already have a previous Beta installed, the page will probably warn you that you’ve already got the latest version, but reinstall anyway and you’ll be upgraded to Skype 4.0 Beta 3 for Windows.)
They really have done an outstanding job on 4.0 Beta 3. Without doubt the best VoiP product on the market.
However, it sucks that HQ video is still limited to a few Logitech cameras. And it also sucks Apple users are stuck on some older version.
It’s a great move for Microsoft, trying to gain on the iPhone… Skype has Windows and Lite for non-smartphones. There’s an interesting article here.
Glad to hear you like it, Chris – and Gina, keep your eyes peeled for Mac news coming soon 🙂
this new version of skype is the dogs…well worth downloading and using. I fixes some bugs I found with me having to adjust the mic settings with every call i made!
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