Shared Groups in Skype
One of the most interesting new features in Skype 2.5 is Shared Groups. If you just want to get up and running with it, there’s a helpful [Shared Groups starting guide](http://www.skype.com/help/guides/sharedgroups.html) available. This guide looks at some details about why shared groups are interesting and how you can benefit from them.
]]>### What good are groups in Skype, anyway?
First, let’s look at regular Skype contact groups. You can have any number of contact groups and contacts in them. You can do conference calls or group text chats with groups with just two clicks (right-click on group and select the action). You can also have some contacts ungrouped (not in any group) if you wish.
### So what do Shared Groups do?
Shared Groups function exactly like regular unshared contact groups. The difference is that whereas a “usual” contact group is only in your own contact list, a Shared Group is in the contacts of everyone who belongs to that group. This is extremely handy for maintaining a family or a workgroup as a contact group in Skype.
In your contact list, shared and regular groups look and work the same — the only difference being the green “shared” icon on the right.
If someone adds members to the group, this info automatically goes to other group members who immediately see the new member. The new member gets the whole group into his contacts right away and doesn’t need to hunt down all the contacts individually. This can be very useful in a workgroup setting, where a new team member can get immediately up to speed about who’s who.
Group memberships often overlap — one Skype Name in your contact list can belong in several groups and it all works fine. If your colleague is also your friend, you can have him in both “Colleagues” and “Friends”, where other members are completely different.
If someone renames a shared group, the new name is propagated to all other members immediately. While it is possible to rename contacts locally so that others wouldn’t see it — and you can call your boss “Mickey Mouse” and he doesn’t see it — shared groups have the same name in everyone’s contacts who are sharing this group. So you may want to think twice about what name to use so that everyone understands it the same way.
### How do I leave a shared group or remove members?
The only way to remove someone from shared group is to have that person remove the shared group from his contacts. Others then see a notice that the person has left the group. If this is not possible for some reason, it’s convenient to just create a new shared group with the “correct” members, and abandon the old one.
### Final bits’n'pieces
Shared Groups are initially supported only in Skype for Windows 2.5 and above. Other versions will follow. If you share a group to someone using an older version of Skype, or someone using another platform that does not support Shared Groups, the person just won’t have indication about the Shared Group, but she will still be a member of the group. And if you start a chat or conference call to the group, she will know of it.