Hallelujah — Skype has finally released a beta “preview” version of its Mac chat client that includes video support. I’ve complained in the past about the shameful state of online video chat between Macs and PCs, and wondered whether Skype’s eventual entry into the world of Mac video support might provide a decent alternative to the crap that’s currently out there; I’ll be sure to report back once I get a chance to test this out. (My most trusted tech-savvy video chatter is currently vacationing in Germany!)

Update: OK, without my trusty buddy with his PC and webcam, Matt and I gave the Skype preview a shot between two Macs, and I gotta say I’m not all that impressed — his words were that it feels like iChat 1.0, and my observation was that the video was choppy and stutter-prone, and the audio had a lot more echo than I’d think would be tolerable for long. The big caveat is that I’d have to imagine there’s a lot of debug code (and lack of optimization) in this preview release, so we’ll see where things head.