Skype bridges Macs and PCs with video calling

Skype for Mac 2.0 beta lets users make video calls to both Mac and PC Skype users

With the latest beta of Skype for the Macintosh, released on Wednesday, Skype hopes to help bridge the barrier between Macs and PCs for video calling.

Users of Skype for Mac 2.0 will be able to make video calls to both Mac and PC Skype users. Other options exist for such cross-platform video calling but not from the most popular instant messaging clients.

The last Skype release for Macs, Skype for Mac 1.5, does not support video calling.

Mac users with the free Skype software can view the video call within the Skype window or on the full computer screen. Users can also see how they appear to the person they are calling in a small window on the screen.

Mac users already have the Apple iChat program, which enables video conferencing but is mainly limited to making calls with other Mac users. In 2004, iChat and AOL's AIM became compatible, allowing users to make video calls to each other. However, the most recent version of AIM, Triton, only supports video calls among Triton users. But an older version, AIM 5.9, is still available and supports video conferencing with iChat users.

Other options from lesser-known providers are also available. SightSpeed offers free software that supports video conferencing between Mac and PC users.

Mac users interested in the latest version of Skype must be running Mac OS X v10.3.9 Panther or newer and have a G4, G5, or Intel processor.

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