Skype has released its 5.0 software for Windows, which includes features that let you integrate your Facebook information with Skype. Engadget describes the new features:
The new version…still has a familiar look and feel, but the most noticeable changes are the addition of photos to the contacts list and the new Facebook tab. Logging into your Facebook account within the program populates your regular News Feed, but also attaches Skype call / SMS buttons next to friends that have either their Skype handles or mobile phone numbers listed on Facebook. Hit one of the buttons and you’re, well, connected!
There’s also an option to view your Facebook Phonebook, which basically lists all your contacts’ mobile phone numbers — though, oddly, it doesn’t list Skype handles within that area. Of course, the final version still allows for 10-way video calls and includes the automatic call recovery feature, which brilliantly reconnects dropped calls as if the drop didn’t really happen.
If and when these features will hit Skype’s mobile version, your guess is as good as ours — a company spokesperson told us there’s nothing to talk about on that end right now.
If your Facebook friends are also on Skype, you can, of course, call them for free.
Om Malik points out that Skype and Facebook, which share Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen on their boards, might be ripe for a buyout:
Facebook wants to mesh communications and community together, which explains why Facebook Phone is in the cards. Skype has become a dominant force in Internet telephony over the years, and if it wants to become the communication console of tomorrow, a vision outlined by CEO Silverman, then it needs to embrace newer forms of communication such as Facebook and Twitter.
It’s logical for Facebook and Twitter to come together.
I propose Facebook should just pony-up and buy Skype, even before they go public. There have been rumors that Skype might be up for sale. Skype and Cisco have been mentioned in the same breath, but to me, a Facebook-Skype deal makes more sense, considering both are software-driven, social-centric, communication utilities and not hardware-centric like Cisco.
At time of writing, Skype 5.0 still isn’t available, but should be soon.