Skype has released a new version of its Mac and Windows desktop applications today, adding the ability to send Skype gift cards in addition to a re-designed toolbar for PC users.

Whenever someone receives a birthday notification in Skype, they can now choose to send the relevant person some call credit. As with existing Skype Credit gift cards, it’s possible to choose the design of the card – most of them use Skype’s almost synonymous sky blue coloring – as well as a personal message, the amount and the card it will be debited from.

The new feature is a timely one given the recent launch of Facebook’s gift cards – Microsoft’s instant messenger and Voice over IP (VoIP) service has been integrated with the social network for some time now. It also shows that both companies are still thinking about possible monetization options, with Skype leaning towards premium features such as calls to a landline or mobile phone.

egifting 730x486 Skype rolls out eGifting to its Windows and Mac apps, while PC users also get a new toolbar

The Windows version of Skype has also been tweaked today to include a new toolbar just above the contacts pane. It’s seperated into four buttons which represent common tasks in the application such as returning to the home screen, calling a landline or mobile phone, creating groups and adding contacts. It’s not the most revolutionary design overhaul, but it does help to keep most of the core controls visible in the compact version of the app.

Skype’s Mac version has also had an incremental feature update in the form of SMS messaging. Users can now send a one-way text message without adding and verifying their own mobile phone number – particularly handy if you’re on a pay as you go scheme and have just happened to run out of credit.

Both the Mac and Windows versions are available to download now, and also fix a number of small technical issues in the process.

➤ Skype | Mac | Windows

Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images