Skype has released the latest version of their cross-platform VOIP/chat client. There are a bunch of new features and bug fixes in this version so there is definitely something for everyone in this release. The new features since 2.7 break down into two main areas:

Screen Sharing

An unbelievably useful feature that has been in iChat for a while now, screen sharing is what allows me to provide the inevitable technical support that my family members need without my head exploding. Rather than try to walk them through the menus and screens and buttons that lead to eternal frustration I can do a “live screencast” right there in front of them and both fix the problem and, hopefully, teach them how to prevent it in the future.

Unlike in iChat however you can choose only to share a portion of your screen with your Skype contact. That way they can’t snoop on you and tell your significant other that you’re spending an inordinate amount of money on consumer electronics…or you know, whatever you might be doing.

Managing your chats

Skype 2.8 adds improved chat organization and allows you set priorities on your chats  as well as sort the chats in your drawer based on different criteria. This is really useful if, like me, you communicate with coworkers via Skype chats. It never ceases to irritate me when I miss something because a particular chat got pushed off of the visible portion of my list by less important people–chats I mean.

Skype now has mood messages, which remind me of LiveJournal or MySpace statuses. I can’t personally say they’re useful, at least not to me. They are nice to have though. There are also larger profile pictures–you know, for those of my friends who wanted to see my face really big.

In the same vein as larger profile pics is the addition of avatar hiding. This is a really nice feature for those profile pics that people have that are just god awful. You know, those “hey, that picture of your dog licking himself is really cool, thanks for forcing me to look at it!” Well, now they’re hidden by default.

In addition there is now a Quick Add feature which is pretty cool, you just hit Add in a chat window and then search for the person you want to add. One of my personal favorites. I wish more IM clients had this. I’m getting tired of copy/pasting things into multiple IM tabs.

Bottom line, the cool new features and bug fixes make this a worthwhile download. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments!