Skype Launches Group Video Calling

Skype on Friday officially launched group video calling, which is part of its new Premium package. The company noted that video calls made up 41.5% of Skype-to-Skype minutes during the second half of 2010, so it clearly sees demand for such functionality.

However, to initiate a group video call, the user needs to have Skype for Windows 5.1, while all other participants can be on Mac or Windows. The initiating user also needs to have activated the seven-day free trial or have signed up for a day pass or monthly subscription. Two-party video calls will remain free.

The new Premium package features group video calling along with live customer support. A day pass is US$4.99 while a subscription is $8.99 per month. Users who sign up for the package during the first month of availability will receive 33% discounts on three- and 12-month subscriptions, along with a 25% discount off an HD webcam.

Skype also announced this week its intention to buy Qix, a provider of mobile video software and services that let people capture, instantly share and preserve video moments from anywhere. Qix currently runs on more than 200 iOS, Android, Symbian, Blackberry, and Windows OS mobile phones.