Skype, the free online voice and video calling service, is to run a public beta test of a new group video chat function next week.
Up to five people will be able to talk to and see each other simultaneously in the new feature. However, while the service will be free initially during the beta phase, group video chat will become a premium feature when it rolls out to the general public in its final build.
The service will hit Windows first, heading to Apple's Macs later on in the year.
Skype's other premium subscription services are also going to get an overhaul. New options will allow the choice of being able to pay for both mobile and landline calls, or just one of the two, for those who use Skype as an alternative to a regular telephone.