Skype has released the Gold version of Skype 2.5 for the Mac.

The free software was originally introduced as a public beta in November 2006. It introduces a range of new features, not least cheap SMS text message sending and ten-way conference calling.

Skype users can make free calls to other Skype users worldwide, and can speak with up to 100 people at a time, or enter ten-way conference calls at no charge.

The software also lets users swap files and lets you call standard mobile of fixed line telephones at highly competitive call rates.

Service users can also buy a SkypeIn number, so that people can ring the user from an ordinary phone. Voicemail and call forwarding features also exist.

Alongside an internet connection, the software requires at least an 800MHz or faster G4 Mac running Mac OS X 10.3.9 (or later). It needs 512MB RAM and 40MB of disc space, a microphone and a webcam (including the iSight camera).