Skype 3.0 (for Windows) has just been released in Beta and there is plenty for bloggers to be excited about in the new features being added.
Click to Call – The new release includes ‘Click to Call’ which allows website owners to put an icon on their blog or site which allows readers to simply click it to call the site owner via Skype (I can just see my productivity levels plummeting! This will be useful for many – although larger website owners could end up spending most of their day on skype.
One addition I’d love to see added would be to add a way to charge for skype calls for consulting work. To be able to have this ‘click to call’ functionality but to be able to charge per minute/hour etc and have the money earned go into a PayPal account would be an interesting feature to see added. Surely integration with PayPal is on the cards as both Skype and PayPal are owned by the eBay team.
Public Chats – Also in this release is ‘Public Chats’ which are text based chat rooms available to anyone with Skype to enter (think IRC chat rooms and you’ll be on the right track). There will be moderation and the ability to promote your Public Chats via a link from your site. There are obvious applications here for bloggers wanting to create community interaction among readers.
Skypecasts – This was already in beta testing but looks to be being made available to a wider group of Skype readers. Skypecasts are really conference calls of up to 100 participants – controlled by a central moderator. Once again these can be promoted on a website or blog and i see plenty of applications both on blogs but also as a blog network operator trying to pull together bloggers for training sessions. Again – adding a way to charge participants to join calls would be of interest to many bloggers who would use it to run e-courses.
Skype 3.0 has other improvements to user interface and has the ability to show your ‘favorite links’ in your mood message (something bloggers will again love). Of course those of us on Skype for Mac and Linux will be a while off seeing most of this. Us Mac users are only just past Skype 2.0 and have only just had a stable version with video so I’m suspecting some of the above could take a while to see on our desktops.