Skype 2.8 Beta for Mac: Skype Access and Screen Sharing
As announced over on the main blog, we’re finally ready to pull the wraps off Skype 2.8 Beta for Mac, our latest release for the Mac platform. To make up for the wait, we’ve included two exciting new features which aren’t currently available on Skype for Windows.
Download the new Beta now – and read on for more details.
Ever been in a café, airport or on a train, wanted to get online and had to fiddle around with credit cards and login details for WiFi networks? Or been in a situation where you want to make a quick Skype call or send a couple of emails, but didn’t want to fork out for an hour’s WiFi access?
Say hello to Skype Access – pay by the minute for WiFi access using your Skype Credit with a single click.
Where can I get Skype Access?
Skype Access is available in over 100,000 places around the world – and our partner Boingo (who actually make the WiFi bit work) have a hotspot finder so you can hunt some out ahead of time. You’ll know you’re in a Skype Access area when you open Skype, connect to a public WiFi network, and a pop up window appears informing you that WiFi is available via Boingo.
How does it work?
Click Start in the Skype Access window to kick things off – and that’s it. You only pay per minute for what you use, and there are no sneaky hidden charges. When you’re finished, click the Stop button in the Skype Access window.
Skype Access provides full access to all internet services – no nasty blocking or filtering, though you’ll have to comply with Boingo’s Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy just to make sure you’re not getting totally out of control
How much does it cost?
A very reasonable €0.14 / $0.19 / £0.11 per minute (€0.16 / $0.22 / £0.13 including Luxembourg VAT at 15% where applicable). You can keep tabs on how much you’ve spent by signing in to your account on the Skype website. When you stop Skype Access, the amount will be deducted from your Skype Credit balance. Simple.
I’m sure you’ve been talking to someone on Skype and wanted to show off something you’ve been working on, or explain to them how to do something in iPhoto, or prove to them just how many unread emails you have. Well, if you’re using Skype 2.8 Beta for Mac, you can.
How do I share my screen?
During a call, choose Share Screen from the Share button in the call window – and away you go.
You can share your screens with Skype for Windows and Skype for Linux users too, but you won’t be able to see theirs (yet)
Other new features
Improved chat management
If (like me) you’re in loads of Skype chats at the same time – my current count is 192 – you’ll welcome this one. You can now sort chats in the drawer and set priorities to chats, so you can deal with the most important messages first.
It’s now much easier to add people to chats. Click Add in a chat window toolbar, and the Quick Add window appears. Start typing and it’ll search your contact list. To add someone to the chat, click their name in the Quick Add window.
Mood message chat
You can use the mood message chat to keep up with your friends’ updates, and also update your own mood message. It’s a bit like Twitter, but don’t tell them we said that.
To switch on the mood message chat, check Show buddy mood messages in chat in the Advanced section of the Preferences window.
Large profile pictures
Just like Skype 4.0 Beta 2 for Windows, you can now use images of up to 256 x 256 pixels. No more screwing up eyes.
Hidden avatars in incoming contact requests
A small minority of Skype users have profile pictures which others may find unpleasant, and so they’re now hidden by default in contact requests.
Add notes to contacts
You can add notes to a contact in their profile window – handy for keeping track of who’s who.
Do let us know what you think of these new features – your feedback will help us make the final version of Skype 2.8 for Mac even better.