Microsoft/Skype announced today that it is extending its partnership with social networking giant Facebook to include Facebook-to-Facebook calling from within the Skype application on Windows and the Mac. The capability, which is currently in beta, means that users can use the familiar Skype app instead of the Facebook web site to make audio and video calls to their Facebook friends.
"This new development in the Skype-Facebook partnership is the latest example of how Skype is removing communication barriers and making it easier to connect with friends, family and business colleagues," Skype VP Rick Osterloh wrote in a blog post announcing the new functionality. "Our approach to social is about personal connections with people. We are on a mission to connect over one billion people and our continued partnership with Facebook brings us one step closer to this goal."
To use Facebook-to-Facebook calling now, you'll need the new Skype 5.7 Beta for Windows (or Skype 5.4 Beta for Mac). From there, you link your Skype and Facebook accounts using a handy little Facebook icon in the Contacts list header. Once they're connected, you can choose between your normal Skype contacts list and the Facebook friends list.
Aside from this new Facebook integration, Microsoft/Skype reports that the new 5.7 Beta for Windows also includes group screen sharing for Premium subscribers (it was previously available only on the Mac for some reason) and one-on-one screen sharing with live video streaming.