Skype has always been great for travellers, allowing free (or at the very least cheap) phone calls anywhere in the world via your PC or Mac. The latest beta version for Macs, announced today at Macworld, makes it even more traveller friendly with the ability to connect to Boingo Wi-Fi networks around the world using your Skype credit.
Skype Access, as it's called, scans for available Boingo wireless networks and presents a pop-up dialog box with the price per minute for using the network. The price is a global flat rate of about 26 cents per minute, which even when coupled with the cost of Skype-out charges, is still a lot cheaper than calling home from your mobile while overseas. Plus, there's the added convenience of not having to worry about giving your credit card details to a Wi-Fi hotspot provider.The beta version also includes screen sharing abilities, which lets other Skype users see what you're working on on your screen via a secure connection. At the moment because it's only in the beta for Mac users, you won't be able to see the screen of a Windows or Linux Skype user, but they can see yours, at least until the software is officially rolled out later this year.
Other features included in the beta are:
*Improved chat management: you can sort chats in the drawer and set priorities to chats *Quick Add: it's now much easier to add people to chats *Mood message chat: see mood message updates from your friends as chat messages *Large profile pictures: just like Skype 4.0 Beta 2 for Windows, you can now use images of up to 256 x 256 pixels *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.