Skype 3.0 intros moderated chats

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Luxembourg - Skype today released the first public beta version of its next-generation Instant messenger and VoIP client. Described as a ""major milestone release,"" Skype 3.0 will become more social and more mainstream with a public chat feature that allows users to create their own chatrooms in a matter of minutes.

See the changes in Skype 3.0 in detail ...

As in previous update stages, Skype 3.0 has received a slightly redesigned and extended interface design and numerous new features that let people communicate in more ways than simple one-on-one chats and one-on-one voice calling. Most significantly, public moderated voice chats are the main new feature in Skype 3.0.

Users can set up ""Skypecasts,"" which have the feel of a live podcast in which you have the choice to listen or actively participate, within a few minutes through Skype's website. A new ""live"" tab within the Skype client enables users to search and join currently running Skypecasts, much like they would join a private chat. When leaving the Skypecast, users are presented with a participant list and the opportunity to contact these users.

About 200 Skypecasts were already online shortly after the release of Skype 3.0 Beta. In contrast to a typical chat or even a podcast, the quality of a Skypecasts depends heavily on the connection quality of each participant as well as the discipline of the crowd: With up to 100 users supported, the moderation of a chat may become a challenge for some and connection issues can quickly make the contributions of each user hard to understand.

Other new features include a click-to-call functionality. Simply by clicking on a phone number on a web page, users can directly call that contact through their SkypeOut account. There are also new ring tone selections, a simplified configuration of audio-devices, a plug-in manager, as well as an accelerated import of a chat history. And just in case you need to kill a few minutes here and there, you can invite co-workers or friends for a round of Checkers or Backgammon.