Skype has released a beta of Skype 3.0, the next major release of its messaging client.
The company said on its blog that the application is the first major update since adding support for video chats last year.
Skype 3.0 is scheduled to add support for public chats, a feature that lets users join a chat conversation without being invited or added by the host. Users can also link to public chats directly from a webpage, email or other online place.
Hosts are offered additional controls over group chats, letting them create open chat, press conference style chats where only a few people can 'speak', or invitation-only chats.
Users can leave chats and rejoin them later, and have the option to log the entire conversation, including the items that were discussed during their absence.
The application will offer an updated user interface to allow for personalisation through the use of custom designs and backgrounds.
Skype has also overhauled the way that third-party developers can create applications for the platform.
The so-called 'extras' offer games, video avatars or application plug-ins that record calls or enable file sharing.
Users currently have to manually download the applications, but the forthcoming version will allow them to find applications directly from within Skype 3.0. The tools will also connect more closely to the Skype user interface.
Skype stressed that the application is still in a testing phase, and recommended that only experienced users should download the software.
Skype 3.0 beta adds conference chats
By Tom Sanders on Nov 10, 2006 9:47AM