VoIP service Skype has updated its Macintosh version, and it includes some improved voice and video calling, screen sharing, and the ability to make Skype calls from Boingo hotspots.
One of the upgraded features that could useful for professionals is the ability to share your screen with the call recipient. Skype 2.8 beta users on Mac will be able to share their screens with other users, even if they're using Windows or Linux. This could potentially compete with Web conferencing services like WebEx.
This could also be useful for nonbusiness users to share photos and videos, and show visual demonstrations with friends and family. But the beta only allows Mac users to share their screens; Windows and Linux users will have to wait for updates.
Another new feature is the ability for Skype users to make calls from Boingo's Wi-Fi hotspots for 19 cents a minute, which will be deducted from the user's Skype Credit account. This could be advantageous for mobile users as Boingo offers more than 85,000 hotpots around the world. Additionally, Boingo said it will cover nearly 43% of passenger enplanements in North America's largest airports after the acquisition of Opt-Fi.
"The goal of the major new features in Skype 2.8 Beta for Mac is to make Skype easier to use everywhere," Skype COO Scott Durchslag said in a statement. "Skype Access is perfect for those times when you need to make a few Skype calls or send some instant messages or e-mails while you're on the go, and screen sharing is a productivity tool that enables collaboration between two parties, regardless of their location."
Other new features include improved chat management, larger profile picture, and the ability to save notes to a contact in the profile window. Skype 2.8 beta can be downloaded from Skype's Web site.