New Skype Friends Facebook on Windows Machines

Skype today released a new version of its software for Windows (s msft) operating systems. The new Version 5 of the popular communications and Internet telephony software is inherently more social, thanks to very tight integration with Facebook. There are no details as to when these features will be made available for Skype on a Mac (s aapl) or on its mobile client.

Rumors of a tighter integration between Skype and Facebook, two companies that share Marc Andreessen as a board member, emerged in September, prompting me to argue that perhaps it was time Facebook snapped up Skype all together.

That will, of course, have to wait for a bit. In the interim, let’s focus on the software. The new release makes a big push on group video calling features, even though those features are still in beta. Skype users typically spend 520 million minutes every day when talking to others on Skype. Of that total, according to Skype, nearly 40 percent of all Skype-to-Skype minutes were video calls.

Skype now integrates the Facebook News Feed and Facebook Phonebook. That means you can interact with Facebook from your Skype client. You can post status updates, comment from within Skype, and call your Facebook friends’ mobiles and landlines directly from the Skype Windows Client. And if your Facebook friends are on Skype, then calls are free.

Related research from GigaOM PRO (subscription required):