Skype updated its Mac client today to version 5.8 to add full support for 10.8 Mountain Lion and a number of features that aim to bring the app up to par with the current Windows version. Perhaps the most notable new feature included in the update is a refined contact list that replaces the old floating menu. Accessible from the “Window” menu, the new Contacts Monitor (pictured right) provides a simplified view of your contacts in a window that can be repositioned and resized. Skype said it is meant to be much like older versions, such as Skype 2.8, that users seemed to prefer. The new contact list also has filters such as “Friends” and “Family,” and the ability to right-click to start a call or new message.
Another new feature for Skype 5.8 on Mac previously only available to Windows users is access to group screen sharing. The feature is for premium subscribers, but it supports up to groups of 10 with only one member of the group required to have a premium subscription. You will also now be able to share your video feed simultaneously while screen-sharing with multiple users.
A few other updates we noticed in the latest release:
You can now double-click to switch to full-screen mode during video. There is also improved support for portrait orientation on iOS devices, and the ability to disable automatic updates. Skype also noted that the latest release is “built to work with Apple’s forthcoming OS X Mountain Lion operating system, in addition to being compatible with past versions of OS X going all the way back to Leopard.”
Skype confirmed that users will still be able to download Skype 2.8 here, but the service added it is working on “bringing some more of those features back into the 5.x release going forward (starting with the slim contact list.” One feature that it noted would come soon is “the ability to open chats in separate windows and keep track of what’s going on with multiple contacts.”