San Francisco -- Skype, the company that made VoIP communications famous around the world, has just pushed out a new beta version of Skype 5.11 for Windows, which includes support for logging into the VoIP service with Microsoft and Facebook accounts, according to a blog post on the Skype “Garage” blog.
With the update, Skype is further incorporating the services of its parent company, letting users both sign in with a Microsoft ID and chat with anyone using Messenger on Windows, Xbox 360, or from within Hotmail / Outlook.com. Also, it arrives with support for 6 languages along with the ability to watch all of the profile pictures you have previously used on Skype.
Besides, Skype is continuing to unravel its oft-criticized visual design, promising that this beta brings a simpler and, more importantly, “less cluttered” interface.
However, the most exciting feature of the new beta is that it also allows you to sign in with your Facebook credentials, skipping the need to register with Skype directly. This essentially means that you do not have to create a new Skype account to start using the service--you can simply punch in your Facebook credentials and start using the beta client.
The main advantage of this is a combined contact list, though the company warns that it is still “working through” this feature and encourages community feedback.
Apart from numerous features, it seems like we are also beginning to see Windows Live Messenger and Skype come together, as the beta has support for sending and receiving messages to WLM, along with the ability to log in with your Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID):
Sharing Instant Messages with Friends, Messenger: You can now sign in with your Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID), and see presence as well as send and receive IM messages from your friends who are using Messenger, Xbox, Hotmail or Outlook.com. Improved Facebook Integration: You can now sign in directly with your Facebook account log in, without needing to first create a Skype account. Support for 6 New Languages: We are excited to support our growing community around the world with new localized versions of Skype in Thai, Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian, Catalan and Slovak, bringing the total languages Skype supports to 38.
Download: Skype 184.108.40.206 Beta | 27.9 MB (Freeware)
Download: Portable Skype | 793 KB (Freeware)