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Viber hits desktops, is it the next Skype?

Viber offers users a way to video conference both on-the-go and at your desktop, free. Could Viber threaten Skype’s market share?



Viber launches desktop app

Viber for mobile devices allows you to make 100% free calls to other Viber users over both 3G and WiFi. It also works over Bluetooth and claims to not drain the life of your battery because it runs in the background. And now, Viber has released the Viber for Desktop 3.0 app for desktops and laptops.

The new desktop app provides the same functionality as the mobile app, but adds support for desktop-to-desktop video conferencing as well. To use the new desktop app, users must first register and configure the mobile phone app (available for iOS and Android devices). This is because Viber uses your phone’s contacts to connect you to other Viber users.

Direct video conferencing is not available to mobile users, but it is on the desktop app. However, Viber does offer a video message feature, comparable to Skype’s. There is support for transferring live calls between desktop and mobile, as well; making it great for people on-the-go.

Viber is simple to use

Unlike Skype you do not have to activate anything, create a username, remember a password, or send out invitations. There is no registration process. After your download is complete, you can start making calls, sending texts and pictures with one touch.

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Viber uses your mobile phone number (which serves as your “user name” of sorts) and address book to instantly show you which of your friends are using Viber. Unlike Skype that asks you to manually add contacts and then wait for them to be approved.
Viber is also ad-free.

The downsides of Viber

Whomever you wish to conference with must be a Viber user, so you will have to convince your friends to make the switch to Viber.

The main downfall of Viber is that your whole address book will be sent to Viber’s servers and kept there according to their privacy statement, “a copy of your address book will be stored on our servers and will be used to…”

It also states that they will collect and log all your phone calls and may share your personal data with 3rd parties they “trust.” But, a lot of other applications do the same thing, so, used cautiously, Viber is great alternative to Skype.

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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