Skype today caught the Mac up on versions on Thursday with the polished release of Skype 5 for Mac. The new version is the first for Apple’s platform to support group video calling and handles as many as 10 simultaneous people in a slightly iChat-influenced full-screen mode.

Its interface has also been overhauled and merges everything into a single pane; the overall footprint has been optimized since the beta to better have it work side-by-side on the desktop and show more contacts.

Search is easier and now helps users find contacts and text conversations.

The app needs an Intel processor and Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later along with the requisite camera or microphone to use the full feature set. Group video chat requires a $5 day pass or $9 monthly subscription to Premium service, but one-on-one chat, Skype-to-Skype voice chat and instant messaging are all free. Calling and texting real-world numbers needs SkypeOut credit that can be purchased in blocks.

This should be interesting as I have never tried group video ever since. This might be the right time for me to test this out. Has any of you done so using the new Skype version? How was it? Share your thoughts.

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