Skype teams up with Facebook, adds Internet phone calls to status updates

Luxembourg-based Skype announced on Thursday that it had teamed up with social networking platform Facebook to allow Skype users call Facebook friends directly on mobile or landline phones.

The new Skype version 5.0 also allows users to send SMS messages or make Skype-to-Skype calls to Facebook friends for free. It also includes a Facebook tab and integrates Facebook’s news feeds.

Users can also post status updates to Facebook that Skype has called "mood messages". More functionality is added once the user agrees to sync their Facebook account, such as the ability to make calls to any friend who has posted their phone number on Facebook.

Commenting on the new service, Skype’s product development director Mike Bartlett said, "We're bringing the social elements of Facebook together with the deeper communication aspects of Skype in a single place.”

Internet telephony tool will also allow video conferencing for up to ten people. Mr. Bartlett said that though the client would be available for free to consumers, the video conference call feature would finally become a paid-for feature.

Skype was founded in 2003. It takes diversion from standard telephone network by channeling voice, text and video conversations over the Internet.