Skype 5.5 beta download – hands on with Facebook features

Recently we spoke about Microsoft buying Skype, now we are excited to reveal that the Skype 5.5 beta has launched and with it comes Facebook integration, in our article we look at some of the Facebook features it brings.

You can download Skype 5.5 beta for Windows here, it runs on pretty much all Windows operating systems (from 2000 to 7) and is not too demanding in terms of required hardware, the installation is quick and easy and upon login you will see a similar looking interface, however there are some slight differences.

Below we have embedded a screen which shows a new Facebook tab which you can click on, if you click on this you can connect your Skype account to your Facebook profile, this allows the app to integrate with Facebook and make the most of lots of new features.

When granting Skype access to your Facebook account you are allowing it to access your basic information, send email to your email address, post on your Facebook wall, access posts in the news feed, access Facebook chat and much more, to be honest with you there is nothing to really worry about, but it is worth checking that you agree with Skype’s demands, we have embedded an image showing this below.

Once you accept everything you will see that Facebook is seamlessly integrated into Skype, where your Skype contacts are listed you can click on the Facebook button to talk to people via Facebook Chat, also on the right-hand sign you can see your news feed, here you can post status updates, like posts and comment on posts, the UI has two columns and the like and comment buttons (a heart shape and speech bubble) are pretty neat (see below).

Talking to Facebook Chat contacts is instantaneous and pretty impressive to be honest, the only thing that I didn’t like was the face that I kept on getting notifications showing that more friends had signed on, this is because of the way that people use Facebook and having 440 friends didn’t help, sadly I did not find away of turning the notifications off, the only way to do this would turn notifications off when Skype contacts signed in as well.

If you want to you can toggle the Facebook features on and off easily, simply go to “Contacts” and then click “Hide Facebook Contacts”, this is great if you want to separate Facebook Chat for pleasure and Skype for work, you can go to “Contacts” and click “Show Facebook Contacts” if you wish to use the Facebook functionality once again. There is also an option to disconnect your Facebook profile by clicking on the Facebook tab (right-hand column) clicking on the settings button and then click “Disconnect from Facebook” (see below).

Considering Skype 5.5 is in its beta stages it is very impressive, a friend of mine could not sync his Skype account with his Facebook profile, however I had no major problems. Personally I think it is great and I love how you can see your news feed easily without having to log onto the website, also the like buttons and comment buttons (see below) look nice and work perfectly and the notifications you receive when you receive a message are not too distracting. We just wish that you could turn off notifications independently for when Facebook contacts are available for chat.

Have you used the Skype 5.5 beta? If so, are you impressed?

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Written by Jamie Pert

Jamie has a background in computer repairs and maintenance along with network administration, he now enjoys utilizing the benefits of new technologies and enjoys writing about anything that brings new technology to the world.

He began writing for Product Reviews in mid 2009 and has since expanded his knowledge across a wide-base of devices, he is looking to get more hands-on experience with new devices to gain a better understanding of the latest and greatest technologies.

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