Skype Technologies SA is piloting a new community conference call service, which can support as many as 100 callers, and is also offering a beta version of its new Internet calling software designed for easier use, the company said Wednesday.
The Skypecasts conference service allows online communities to schedule calls that anyone around the world can join.The service is currently being tested by select Skype partners but a beta version for the general public will be launched soon, Skype said.
The Skypecasts Web site, skypecasts.skype.com, lists scheduled calls and in-progress calls. Hosting and calling into a Skypecast is free for registered Skype users. The host can mute and enable participants to speak and also eject callers, Skype said.
Six Apart Ltd., the developer of blogging software and a pilot user, is promoting Skypecasts as part of the offering, Skype said. The idea is for bloggers to schedule Skypecasts or promote other scheduled Skypecasts and invite visitors to their blogs to participate in the calls. Any blog or Web site that supports HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) snippets will be able to include a link to a Skypecast, allowing visitors to join the call without leaving the blog site.
Bloggers may be particularly interested in using Skypecasts as a way to add a live audio conversation component to their blogs, according to Alistair Shrimpton, market development manager for the U.K., Ireland and Holland for Skype.