Skype gets personal

Internet-telephony giant Skype has launched version 1.4 of its software, giving users new personalisation options and adding Call Forwarding features.

The new features have the potential to boost Skype’s revenue streams, which its new owner eBay would gratefully receive, having paid $2.6bn in cash, with a further stock deal to boot.

Call Forwarding enables the user to do just that: forward calls to another Skype name for free, or to fixed or mobile lines at SkypeOut rates. There is no charge to the caller.

The personalisation features at mean you can download images and ringtones. At the moment there are a couple of free samples available, but commercial ones will be available costing as little as €1 (68p).

You can use images and WAV files already on your computer to personalise Skype for free. And a spokesperson for the company said that users would still be able to do this and won’t be forced to use the commercial personalisation features. ‘We have no intention of shutting that option off to them in the foreseeable future – we like it when our users get creative!’ she said.

Version 1.4 also claims improved voice quality, and a survey carried out by Skype claims that 72 per cent of its 56 million registered users consider sound quality good to excellent.

Toolbars are available now that plug in to Internet Explorer and Outlook enabling one-click Skype calls when browsing or checking mail. Skype buttons now mean webmasters and bloggers can create links and triggers for Skype actions on their sites.

Skype 1.4 is available for Windows from the Skype website.

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