Skype Opens Up the Party Line With Five-Way Video CallingS

Skype's about to get five times as wonderful. Starting next week, they're rolling out a public beta of Group Video Calling that will connect you with up to four friends, for free (for now). How fortunate!

The feature's going to be available at first only to Windows PC users, but a Mac version is also in the works for later this year. By the time that's available, though, you'll likely have to pay for it: Skype says that they plan to charge for the feature within the next three to four months.

Will this be the next video conferencing for businesses? Probably. But I'm more interested in the prospect of families and loved ones being able to reunite on a large scale. The bickering's much safer when everyone's on a different continent. [AP]