Skype for Android 5.0 readies the way for new 'Find your friends' feature

Skype

Microsoft has released Skype for Android 5.0, a new version of its chat tool that includes free audio and video messaging. The latest release concentrates on providing support for one single upcoming feature: find your friends.

The feature, which should roll out over the next few weeks, will give users the option of connecting Skype to their phone’s address book, making it easier to connect with existing contacts through the chat service.

When the service becomes available, users will be prompted to verify their phone number with Skype. Once done, the app will then automatically look for contact matches between Skype and the phone’s address book. Any matches will then appear under Skype’s People list.

The feature promises not to spam anyone, and will automatically add new people from a user’s Contacts as they sign up for Skype. Anyone signing in using their Microsoft account will also be able to match up with other Microsoft-held contacts, including Windows 8 and Outlook.com.

Users will get to maintain full control over how the feature works -- tap Settings to prevent address book contacts being automatically added to Skype -- and the user’s phone number will not be made part of the user’s public profile. They will also be able to modify or deactivate the number to prevent other Skype users searching for it.

In the meantime, version 5.0 delivers no other changes of note, while Microsoft  reveals it’s "working hard" to bring the feature to other mobile platforms. It will be interesting to see how quickly these updates appear given that "Find your friends" should be live within the next few weeks.

Skype for Android 5.0 is available now as a free download for Android phones and tablets. Other mobile versions include Skype for iPhone, Skype for iPad, and Skype for Windows Phone.

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