Skype has launched group video chat into the beta phase, Skype group video calling allows video calls with up to five people.
With the latest beta version, Skype offers users the ability to bring the whole family together for a chat, a lunch with friends, or even a birthday celebration with loved ones who live far away. What’s more, business users will be able to meet ‘face-to-face’ with colleagues from across the world without leaving their desks.
Skype is planning to release an updated official version of the Skype desktop client later this year, but if you download the updated beta version of Skype you can start using the group video chat feature now.
To make group video calls, the people you’re calling will also need to be running the new version as well. Once the group is all set up – just use the Add button to invite people into the conversation, and click the Video Call button.
For the moment, Skype group video calling appears limited to the Windows desktop client, but we were assured by Skype’s Asia Pacific Vice President Dan Neary when speaking in Sydney yesterday that this feature would be rolled out to other platforms (Mac OSX first, then to embedded versions such as TV’s next) over time.
Group video calling is just one in a set of new premium features that Skype plans to roll out during 2010. Being a premium feature indicates that Skype plans to charge for group video calling, though when pressed Mr Neary was vague as to how the product would be priced, indicating only that we need to “stay tuned” for more details.
Given that group video calling will be highly valued by the business community, it is expected that Skype will price the offer accordingly, with consumers likely to have to wait for the price to tumble over time.
More details on Group video calling are available on the Skype blog.