Skype has announced the rollout of group video calling on iPhone, iPad and Android phones, starting today. Western Europe and North America will get the feature first, and Skype has said it plans for group video calls to be available worldwide in March.
Up to 25 people can participate in a Skype video call. Just when you thought you could escape your family, now you'll have your face jammed in the corner of a screen beside your second cousin Mary and your uncle's neighbour's dog, Jim. There's even a 'focus view' feature where Skype automatically focuses on the person talking.
If 25 people sounds like a hefty processing load for Microsoft to carry, it's because it is. Microsoft will in fact be working with Intel to enable the company's SILK audio codec to work with Azure cloud servers powered by Intel's processors.
Skype is also updating its chat invite feature, which lets users add people to group chats even if they aren't on that user's contact list. Even if the person being invited doesn't have Skype, they'll be able to join in using Skype for Web.