Skype has released a beta of version 3.0 for Windows, recommended for “experienced users” as it still apparently needs quite a few tweaks.

The company is calling it a major milestone release because of all the improvements that have been made. The biggest visual difference is that the user interface has received a major update, with the toolbar receiving a complete overhaul. The contacts tab has been renovated so that call and chat buttons are now on the contact card itself, so it’s easier to interact. In addition, the Hold and Mute buttons have been made more prominent.

Public Chats have also been added so that people can now join without being manually added by the chat host, and bloggers can post a link to a chat on their webpages.

Skype has also created browser extensions for IE and Firefox that convert numbers on web pages into Skype links, so that you just click to call.

Other differences include a change to SkypeCasts controls, and the addition of a sound settings wizard and extras like games and whiteboards for notes.