Microsoft has released Skype for Desktop 6.5 Beta, a new preview version for Windows users. The new release is notable for introducing support for Skype Video Messaging to Windows, a feature that allows users to send pre-recorded video messages to other Skype users when offline. The feature has already landed inSkype for Mac, Skype for iOS and Skype for Android.
The new video calling feature allows users to record video messages that can be sent to other contacts, even when they’re not online, and requires that Adobe Flash already be present on the computer.
Recording a video message is simple: select the intended recipient, then click the Video Message button that appears in place of the Video Call. Users then click the Record button and record a message up to three minutes in length before choosing to either discard or send the message..
Recipients will see the embedded video appear in their chat window, and clicking it will play the video full-screen. Users can play back their video messages too, but only after they’ve been sent.
At the present time, 25 free video messages are available -- we presume that after these free messages have been used up, users will need to subscribe to a premium Skype package to continue using the service.
Skype Video Messaging has already been implemented on other major platforms, and Microsoft promises the feature will be live in Skype for Windows 8 “shortly”. In the meantime, both Windows Phone and Windows 8 app users can view and receive messages, but not send them.
Two bug fixes have also been implemented in this new release, both falling into the “Calling” category. The first resolves issues with the ability to call being disabled when trying to call a number in certain scenarios, while the second improves the application’s stability when placing outgoing calls on a computer where no webcam is present.
Skype for Desktop 6.5 Beta is available now as a free download for PCs running Windows XP or later (including Windows 8 in desktop mode).