Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Skype 4.1 Beta for Windows Adds Screen Sharing to its Conferencing Toolkit

Frequently the features available in software updates are not always equitable or timely across platforms, but Skype has followed up quickly with a beta version of Skype 4.1 for Windows adding screen sharing to its ubiquitous voice and video chat client, a feature that had only been available in version 2.8 beta for Mac. While Skype usually release new features for its Windows clients first, the screen sharing feature has been available to Mac users since January. But now you can share your whole screen, or just a portion of your screen with any other Skype user on Windows, Mac or Linux.

Screen sharing, or as it's also called remote desktop sharing, has been primarily an online collaboration tool available on many other conferencing solutions and is the basis for webinar or webconferencing applications. But now that Skype has incorporated it into both the Mac and PC versions it greatly increases the level of collaboration within its free peer-to-peer (P2P) conferencing  environment. 

My take -- it's very cool and I'm sure I'll be incorporating it into more of my Skype calls. Skype has evolved beyond its roots as a voice and video chat client into a versatile online collaboration platform. 

Skype 4.1 Beta for Windows highlights:
  • Screen Sharing: share your screen with other Skype users.
  • Send contacts: take contacts from your list and send them to other Skype users.
  • Import contacts: import contacts from external address books, including Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo!, AOL and LinkedIn.
  • Birthday reminders: you will receive an alert when it is the birthday of one of your Skype contacts (alert appears at midnight, local time; if you do not use Skype that day, you will not see the alert).
  • Skype browser toolbar improvements.
  • Enhanced call quality.
  • Several bugs have been fixed.
You can see the full release notes in the here (PDF link.)

Skype 4.1 Beta for Windows system requirements:
  • Windows 2000, XP or Vista
  • Internet connection
  • Speakers and microphone
  • At least 1Ghz processor, 256MB of RAM and a webcam for voice and video calls.
Download now — Skype 4.1 Beta for Windows

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