Skype update connects you deeper with Facebook

Now out of beta stage, the 5.5 version of Skype for Windows lets you IM your Facebook friends and even update your Facebook status and view your Facebook wall.

Lance Whitney/CNET

Skype has released the latest update to its online calling software for Windows, offering more options for Facebook users.

Officially out of beta since Wednesday, the latest Skype 5.5 for Windows lets you check which of your Facebook friends are online and available to chat, all without having to leave Skype. Simply clicking on the View menu in the Skype software and then choosing Facebook Friends shows you the list.

By clicking on and then closing the Skype Home screen, you can also update your Facebook status and scroll down to view your entire Facebook wall.

Beyond the Facebook integration, Skype says that its latest version offers improved controls for video and group calls for Windows, better call reliability, and various design changes in the interface.

For some reason, I was unable to directly update my current version of Skype (5.3) to 5.5. Clicking on the "Check for Updates" link in the Help menu told me I was already running the latest version. I had to manually download and install the 5.5 version to get the new update.

But once it was installed, I was able to use Skype 5.5 to view my online Facebook friends, access my wall, and post status updates just as easily as I could in Facebook.

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