Microsoft (MSFT) on Monday during its Windows Phone 8 press event in San Francisco announced a new version of Skype for its mobile operating system. The program is always running in the background to ensure that users will never miss an incoming call or message from a friend ever again. The application also allows users to message and video chat with contacts directly through the Windows Phone 8 Peoples hub. Joe Belfiore, the head of Microsoft’s Windows Phone team, revealed that unlike other apps that run in the background, Skype will not drain the smartphone’s battery. “We’ve built Skype so it integrates naturally into the phone experience… it’s always on, so it can receive a call and message at any time… without draining your battery,” said Belfiore. The Skype app is available now for Windows Phone 8 devices.
Microsoft (MSFT) shocked everyone when it announced it was buying Skype for $8.5 billion last year. Slowly but surely, we were expecting Skype to replace Microsoft’s own Live Messenger client as the default messenger and to be slapped it into every Windows Phone device and Xbox 360. While Microsoft’s stance is that Skype will remain in development for multiple platforms, it’s slowly becoming the company’s communication backbone. A Microsoft representative told BGR that about 80% of all instant messages sent over Skype are now sent over the company’s Messenger backend.
Numerous Skype users have posted complaints on the company’s Support Network about a bug that is sending messages to random users on their contact list. In some instances it was only a few messages, though others noted that whole conversations were being sent to the wrong person. “Thanks for your reports and sorry for the inconvenience caused by this,” a Skype employee responded. “We are currently investigating and hope to provide a solution for this soon.” A company spokesperson, speaking to Engadget, acknowledging that “in rare circumstances IM’s between two contacts could be sent to an unintended third contact.” The Microsoft-owned company revealed that a fix is in the works and will be available in the next few days.
UPDATE: The company confirmed the bug affected some versions of Skype for Windows, Mac, Linux and Windows Phone, and has begun rolling out an update to fix the problem. More →
New legislation has been passed in Ethiopia that could imprison an individual for up to 15 years for making a 30-second call over Skype or Google Talk. The legislation has made it illegal to use any Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services from within the country, Al Jazeera reported. Not only does the law prohibit the use of VoIP services, but it also enables the state-owned Ethio Teleco to prohibit the use of video chatting, social media, email and any other data transfer service capable of communicating information. The legislation has been labeled as necessary for the country’s national security and will reportedly close a loophole that was allowing some citizens to communicate without being monitored by authorities. More →
Less than week before Microsoft’s Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco, various leaked screenshots highlighting key Windows Phone 8 features have found their way onto the Web. The alleged images, which were posted on Nokia Innovation, show off Skype integration that allows users to make calls with or without video and initiate Skype chats, and a redesigned camera app that is rumored to be called “Lenses.” The screenshots also highlight a new data monitoring system, similar to what is found in the latest version of Android, and a redesigned user-interface for the Nokia Drive 3.0 GPS app. An image of the redesigned camera app follows below. More →
A new security vulnerability in Skype has been discovered that allows a third-party script to reveal users’ remote and local IP addresses, according to GHacks. The script, which was uploaded to Github, allows users to lookup the IP addresses of any online Skype accounts. The code then initiates the contact addition process, but does not complete it. The log file will instead display the local and remote IP of the requested Skype user, even if the user is not added to the list of contacts. An IP address can be used to determine the location and Internet service provider of the user, and the only method of protecting against this vulnerability would be to use a virtual private network or proxy to hide the IP address. More →
Flying home for the holidays and navigating through crowded airports — or facing flight delays, as is often the case — may be a hair less dreadful this year. Skype announced recently that it is sponsoring free Wi-Fi in more than 60 U.S. airports from December 21st until December 27th. To activate the service, simply follow these directions:
- Sign in to Skype.
- Go to Tools > Options… > Skype WiFi Access.
- Tick Enable Skype WiFi Access.
- Connect to a WiFi public hotspot.
- In the Skype menu bar, click Tools > Skype WiFi Access.
- Follow the instructions on the screen to select and join a compatible public WiFi network.
Skype’s full press release, which includes a list of every airport where free Wi-Fi will be available, follows after the break. More →
New York University’s Polytechnic Institute has discovered a Skype security flaw that leaves Skype users’ locations and P2P sharing activity accessible to hackers. The security hole was discovered while NYU scientists monitored 10,000 Skype users and 20 volunteers during a two-week period. “A hacker anywhere in the world could easily track the whereabouts and file-sharing habits of a Skype user – from private citizens to celebrities and politicians – and use the information for purposes of stalking, blackmail or fraud,” professor Keith Ross from computer science NYU-Poly’s computer science program said. Hackers can also keep track of a Skype user’s movements as he or she places calls from various locations. The scientists were able to follow a Skype user during a vacation from New York to Chicago and then all the way home to France, Financial Post explained. “A fairly straightforward and inexpensive fix would prevent hackers from taking the critical first step in this security breach – that of obtaining users’ IP addresses through inconspicuous calling,” the scientists said. Skype chief information officer Adrian Asher said his company will work to improve the security of Skype’s software. More →
Skype on Thursday announced that its Mac OS X and Windows beta clients now support video calls to Facebook users. Skype introduced a Facebook-to-Facebook video client for the social network in July, but now users on both platforms can video chat with one another. Users who choose to download Skype 5.7 Beta on Windows or Skype 5.4 Beta on Mac will be prompted to enter in their Facebook credentials. Once logged in, Facebook friends will be presented on the Skype buddy list and a video chats can easily be initiated. Skype also said it has added a group screen-sharing feature for its Skype Premium Windows users, an option that was released in an earlier Mac OS X update. A video of Skype’s Facebook calling integration follows after the break.
Microsoft announced on Friday that it has completed its $8.5 billion purchase of Skype. Skype will exist as a new division within Microsoft and Skype CEO Tony Bates will continue to serve as the head of the Skype team. In addition, Skype’s employees around the globe will remain in their current offices. Microsoft confirmed that it will work to integrate Skype into its existing products, but it did not specifically say which products or when that would begin to happen. “We look forward to working with the Skype team to create new ways for people to stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues — anytime, anywhere,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said. The acquisition is still pending completion in several other countries. Read on for the full press release. More →
Fresh on the heels of launching a client for the iPad, Skype released Skype version 5.3 for Mac on Monday. The update adds support for Apple’s latest OS X Lion operating system as well as HD video chat. Users will now be able to send and receive HD-quality video using their built-in Mac webcams or other HD-capable cameras. Skype says that the feature will work best for those with internet connections that can maintain at least 1.5Mbps upload/download throughput. The software is compatible with with OS X Leopard and later versions of Apple’s PC operating system. More →