Skype 3.1 Beta for Windows – SkypeFind and typing indicators
It’s time for a new Beta version of Skype for Windows. Download here. Please note that as with all Beta versions, you can expect this version to have some bugs and a few rough edges which we will be polishing before the final version. Download and use only if you are comfortable with using pre-release software.
Although only a minor increase in the version number, from 3.0 to 3.1, this release contains a major new feature called SkypeFind.
SkypeFind is one of the most interesting features that we’ve done in quite a while now. We call it “Local businesses you like”, and that’s what it is – a collection of businesses, with reviews and comments, built by everyone using Skype.
]]>There are three main things you can do in SkypeFind and some hidden tricks as well.
#### Adding and editing listings
To help build SkypeFind, you may want to add your own listings of businesses that are not yet on SkypeFind. Just click the “Add listing” button on the SkypeFind tab, or click “Edit this listing” when viewing a listing, and fill in the form.
#### Adding a review or comment
The next thing you may want to do is add a review or comment for a listing. In the search results view, you will see the “Add a review” button. You can add a review, picking one of the rating options. You can also add an optional text comment.
You can add one comment per listing. If your opinion changes, you can always come back to this listing and edit your comment later. This might be useful if you were initially impressed by a business and so added a comment but service went down hill on additional visits.
#### Find a business, any business
If you just want to search for a business, there’s nothing easier than simply going to the SkypeFind tab and entering your search details. As you typically want to find a business that is close to you, we automatically search for business in the country you listed in your profile, but you can choose a different country if you want. You also need to indicate what you are looking for, such as a “restaurant”, “pizza place”, “pet shop” or “florist”, and possibly a city or region name, although this is not mandatory.
You then click “Search” and see the results.
As you’ll notice, there’s a “Call” button right there. When you click it, you make a SkypeOut call to the phone number that is in this listing.
But wait, there’s more…
There’s a cool trick you can use when you are not sure what you’re looking for exactly. Throughout the SkypeFind interface, you see the “Ask your friends” link. You can post a question to your friends there, such as “What’s a good hotel in London?” Your mood message is then automatically set to this question, but with a twist: there’s a link to a public chat that’s automatically created.
Now, when your contacts see your mood message and click on it, they are automatically added to this public chat. You can then chat about hotels in London together.
We’re obviously just scratching the surface with SkypeFind here. There’s so much more we could do with it. We thought that it’d be good to get started early and get the initial version out so that we can build upon it as we go along. For example, there’s no exposure of SkypeFind to the web yet. You could think of all sorts of web-based feeds and API-s for it (“listings I have added/edited”), there’s no map interface yet and so forth. We are eager to listen to your ideas about where you see this evolving. Just post your comments here or in the [SkypeFind forum](http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showforum=131).
### Typing indicators
Ever since the Skype chat feature first came out, we have heard from people who have said that their very lives and the whole earthly existence depends on the chat having a “typing indicator”, and that they won’t be happy until they have it in Skype. So… the day has finally come. There is now a typing indicator in Skype chat. Hurrah and rejoice.
A typing indicator is of course a well-known feature in instant messaging software, and we are certainly not the first to do it. So we went, “if we can’t be the first, then let’s be the coolest”.
First, our typing indicators work in group chats as well as one-to-one chats. So if you’re chatting with a group of people and post a message to the chat, you can see if there is more than one reaction coming. It makes all chats much more interactive and fun.
Secondly, it’s sometimes the case that you type something and are about to post it in a chat, but then change your mind and erase the whole thing. To the other party, it may still seem as if you’re typing, even though you actually erased your input. Skype’s typing indicator also reflects this – when the other person types something, but then erases it, you’ll see a particular kind of “erase” animation.
A few technical notes. Everyone in the chat needs to have Skype 3.1 Beta for Windows to see the indicators when others are typing and for others to see them. We plan to make this feature available across other platforms in the future.
If you don’t want others to see when you are typing, just head over to Tools, Options, Advanced, and uncheck the “Show when I am typing” option.
### Feedback and bug reporting
We thank everyone who has supported and helped us during our previous Betas. Many bugs that you reported have been fixed in the final versions, and we continue to use the same model during this Beta. Please see the Skype for Windows development page for feedback and bug reporting instructions.