Skype, in a widely anticipated move, has rolled out a new version of its software that will finally allow more than two people to video conference with each other. The new feature — which is still in beta — will allow groups of up to five friends to chat with each other via video.
For group video conferencing to work, all users must download and install the latest version of the Skype client. Unfortunately, group video chat is only available to Microsoft (s MSFT) Windows users right now, but Skype says a Mac (s AAPL) version is in the works and will be ready for download later this year.
Group video chat has been one of Skype’s most requested features for years, and could provide a new revenue stream for the company, the majority of which eBay (s EBAY) sold to a group of investors in September of last year. For now, while the feature is still in beta, group video conferencing is free, but Skype expects to release it as one of a number of new premium features later this year. The company says it hasn’t worked out prices for the new features yet, but says Skype voice calling and two-way video chat will remain free for all users.
Skype will be competing with other video conferencing technologies that already enable users to video chat for free. Paltalk, for instance, lets up to 10 users video chat in a standard web browser, without the need to download or install a piece of software.
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