Skype has today released a beta version of its popular VoIP service that includes a preview of its new group video calling. For the time being it's free, but Skype has admitted that it is part of a new premium service line-up, although no prices have yet been set.

In order to take advantage of the new group video calling function, get over to Skype's website and download the latest beta. You can then make a video call that includes up to five of your contacts.

You'll have to make sure that everyone you want to include in your video call conference is running this beta version as well, as it won't work on the existing public releases.

On Monday we told you how Skype is exploring new revenue streams, including the possibility of running adverts within its interface. The group video calling looks like it will be one of the first premium services to go live, after this initial free preview period. Skype is assuring users that voice calling and two-way video calling will remain free, so no need to panic about that.

A Mac launch with video group calling is on its way later this year, but no news yet about poor little Linux.