Skype 3 (still free)
A preview of Skype 3's new features.
Skype 3 rolled out today without a lot of fanfare. That's fitting as it brings some nifty-sounding new features, but none of them are earth-shattering. The first is a new tab on the Skype dashboard called "Live" that incorporates Skypecasts right into the main window. Here, you can join public discussions and conversations in progress, or start your own. If none of the conversations strikes your fancy, browse the directory to see if there's anything for you there.
The other big addition is the new Do More option under the Tools menu. Here, you'll find a number of add-ons that are entertaining, but not central to the point of Skype. You can invite contacts to join you in a rousing game of Chinese checkers or backgammon. Or you can share a virtual whiteboard with a pal and doodle while you gab. There's even a feature called the KishKish Lie Detector that purports to analyze voice stress--so if you have something to hide, maybe you should have that conversation on a regular phone instead.
We haven't had a chance to really dig into these new features yet, but we're working on it, so check back soon for a full review of Skype 3.