Skype 5.0 beta for Mac brings several new features

Skype recently announced the release of a beta of Skype 5.0 for Mac.

The released beta version features a completely redesigned interface with a single large window, integration with Mac address book, group video conferencing and a new control bar.

Group video chat in the beta of Skype 5.0 looks somewhat like iChat; however, unlike iChat it supports up to 10 members in a single chat. It should be noted here that group video conferencing demand all parties to have a minimum broadband connection of 2Mb/s down and merely 128Kbps up.

In the new window, a left sidebar features `contacts', `groups', and a `recent list' that displays the contacts the user correspond with the most repeatedly.

In addition, the beta Skype 5.0 for Mac allows the user to activate full integration with Mac OS X's Address Book from the favorites. It means the user can make a call, SMS, or IM contacts without the need to go first through the process of adding them to Skype contact list.

Group video chat can be used for free while Skype 5.0 is in beta; however, it will become a paid plan once the feature ships officially.

The existing version of Skype for Mac is 2.8, well behind the newly released Skype 5.0.