Today Skype released their initial version of Skype 3.5 Beta for Windows. You can download it here if you are the adventuresome type. In addition to fixing a bug (that caused Skype to crash) with public chats that has been plaguing those of us who use them, the major feature rolled out in this release is the long-awaited "Call Transfer". Don Kennedy goes into this at far greater length in "Skype Pro Does Call Transfer" where he provides some examples and also provides a sample application.
One of his examples is the interesting one of having all calls be transferred to a "group" which could include Skype names as well as SkypeOut numbers. In Don's example, you could have someone call you on a SkypeIn number which would then be transferred to the "group" which could include your own Skype ID and also a SkypeOut connection to your cell phone. Now all of this capability isn't yet in the Skype GUI. Today you need Don's Call Transfer Example application, also available through the Skype Extras manager, but it is a glimpse of what is coming.
There is one gotcha... to do the transfer from a SkypeIn number or to a SkypeOut number, you need to have the "SkypePro" monthly subscription plan. However, the USA is not one of the "available countries"... but apparently you can, in fact, purchase Skype Pro. But, of course, if you are in the USA or Canada and have already purchased "Skype Unlimited" for $30 for the year for unlimited calling in NA, you have to wonder why people would pay $3/month more for Skype Pro... unless perhaps to get Call Transfer? Certainly a bit confusing.
Call Transfer isn't the only thing in the 3.5 beta - per the Windows Release Notes, the release also contains:
- feature: Auto redial
- feature: Call Transfer
- feature: Device Indicators
- feature: Edit chat messages
- feature: Message history loading granulated
- feature: Private Telephone Numbers
- feature: Send contacts inside chat
- feature: Visual indicators for Audio In / Audio Out in options
- feature: Show examples of notifications / alerts in options
- feature: Added Latvian localization - Intars Students
- feature: In-Client Hardware store button
- change: Extras Manager updated to version 22.214.171.1241
- change: Options categories smoothly slide open and close when changed
- Updated language files for a variety of languages
Some of those are more obvious that others. What are "Private Telephone Numbers"? or "Device Indicators"? We shall see. In any event, Skype has now made this release available for those who want to play with it...
UPDATE #2: Phil Wolff demonstrated the "Send contacts inside chat" feature that you can see on the right. You can send a contact to all members of a chat by using the Send button on the top of the screen (or apparently by dragging/dropping into the chat).
UPDATE #3: Raul and others explained that "Device Indicators" will clue you (a Skype 3.5 user) into the fact that the person you are communicating with may be using an embedded version of Skype with less capabilities (for instance, some of the new WiFi phones that have Skype and don't require a PC).