Skype has just launched a nifty little beta version of Skype 5.0 for Mac. As illustrated by the demo video (see above), the people at Skype have made it possible for users to enjoy group video calling within the popular single-window framework. As it stands, group video calling will be free - but only during the beta trial period. Subsequently, paid subscription plans will be required for users to enjoy the new feature at will.
Unfortunately, it isn't yet clear when the feature will leave beta and become an established, fee-based component of Skype 5.0 for Mac. For now, the new Skype 5.0 is available for Mac today with a new look and lends Skype a more Mac-friendly appearance. New features, such as address Book integration, have also been introduced, although every revamped attribute is taking a backseat to the group video chat component that makes Skype shiny and new for many Mac users.
Between Apple expanding FaceTime to Macs and Skype's overture to Mac users with new video group chatting, very quickly we are seeing video chat becoming a much more established and commonplace component of the social media world. It's a trend we can likely expect to continue as last month at Apple's "Back to Mac" event, Steve Jobs announced that “We’ve sold more than 19 million FaceTime-ready iPhone 4 and iPod touch devices in the past four months, and now those users can make FaceTime calls with tens of millions of Mac users.”