At the mesh meetup we had at the Charlotte Room tonight, I ran into Jim Courtney of Skype Journal and he said he had just finished posting something interesting about the new Skype beta — and he was right. It seems that not only is the client being improved, but eBay is finally starting to achieve some of the synergies that many observers were hoping for when it bought the VoIP service for $4-billion or so way back when.
According to knowledgeable people like Jim and Iotum co-founder Alec Saunders, who posted on it here, among the things that Skype has improved is the sound quality of the application. Now, the sound is apparently just as good with the regular mike and speakers you get with a PC as it is with a dedicated headset or other equipment, which will be a big boon for regular users.
Jim says he suspects that Skype is making use of new codec technology they acquired awhile ago. They’ve also made it possible to take a snapshot with your video cam to use as a profile picture, and you can import contacts from more mail clients than before.
But for me, the biggest move with this beta is the fact that you can now click and send money to contacts via PayPal — which was one of the no-brainer synergies that I expected would have happened a long time ago. Maybe there was some technical issue holding it up, I don’t know. But finally it’s possible.