ooVoo is an instant messaging, chat, and video conferencing solution with a ton of great features, at no cost. While there are lots of messaging programs out there, and no shortage of new contenders for the heavyweight title of ‘Best Multi-Messaging Program”, ooVoo wants to be the ultimate comprehensive package to stay in touch with friends, family, and business contacts.
Packed with features, and a fast growing user base, ooVoo is getting full points in the preliminary rounds. Compared to other programs like it, ooVoo stands up and gives as well as it gets, offering mobile video calls and remote desktop sharing as well.
ooVoo is a program that advertises itself as the ultimate in multi-platform messaging services, and like the rest of them, offers plenty of premium services and packages along with their basic free service. I have been hearing a lot about ooVoo just lately so I decided to try it out for myself and see what all the fuss is about.
I was not disappointed. ooVoo, overall, seemed to me to have more options, fewer limitations, and higher overall quality than the other programs I have tried like it.
There’s never been any shortage of messaging and social networking programs for free on the internet. Since the first bits and bytes did their digital duet and tango across phone lines people have been chatting and have, consequently, demanded more and more from their messaging client programs over the years. ooVoo is a free messaging service that provides the standard instant messaging fare but adds high quality video chat with multiple users as it’s big selling point. The version I am reviewing here is the 100% free edition of ooVoo, and it’s developers seem to have really listened to the general public and tried hard to turn their feedback into fact.
ooVoo is more than just an instant messenger, it connects to popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter, has an award winning Android app, and will even help you find like-minded people to make new friends with if you’re stumped. These are all pretty standard fare for instant messaging programs, and ooVoo does them quite well, but the thing that really makes ooVoo shine, in my opinion, is their video options. So much is video oriented these days, so free programs for anything video are becoming not only more numerous but there’s starting to be a pretty wide spread push and rise in quality as well. This is good news for the average user, and even better news for the freeware fans.
ooVoo offers the option to have a high-quality video conference with up to 6 other users, for free. Now, if you think that doesn’t sound like a big deal, I suggest you go out and try to find another program that does it as well as ooVoo and doesn’t charge anything for it. To be sure, there are other programs that let you have video conferencing, and some of them are even free. However, most (if not all) of those other solutions are lacking in some area that ooVoo is not. Paltalk, for example, is a free messaging program that does have some video options, but on a limited basis if you don’t purchase the upgraded membership. ooVoo does not suffer from that particular limitation.
There are other programs that will allow you to have multiple user video chat at no cost, but they don’t have the social networking connections to Facebook, or they don’t have a decent amount of users, or some other lack holds them back. ooVoo not only has a pretty huge (and still growing) user base, but because it can connect with Facebook and Twitter and even many other instant messaging or video chat programs it’s available limit of people you can communicate with is pretty close to infinite. Additionally, it supports file sharing, remote desktop sharing, and other great business type tools. You can make your video calls to mobile phones, as well, if the user you’re calling has ooVoo and a mobile that supports the app.
There’s a contacts list and address book that keeps all your friends’ information in one recoverable spot in the cloud, and it will even let you record your video chats and send video greeting cards. All of this from the free edition of the program and all of it is of great quality, I had literally not one problem with ooVoo the entire time I was testing it over the course of a week or so. That’s a rare endorsement for any program, let alone a free one, especially when one considers the particular joy I take in finding ways to ‘break’ programs that the developers didn’t prepare for.
Installation, registration and setup were all pretty quick and easy. First off, I found it nice that you get to use all the premium features of ooVoo for 30 days at no cost. After that 30 days, it reverts to the free edition, which is still very powerful and a great program, to my way of thinking. So, after installation you’ll go through a pretty basic registration/sign up process and choose a username, etc. After that you get a short tutorial (you can skip it if you want), which also points you to the help pages online, and you’ll probably refer to those fairly often at first. Because ooVoo is so full of options and abilities, there’s a lot to learn, but the basics are still pretty intuitive and user-friendly, especially if you’re already familiar with this kind of program in general.
As mentioned, there is a mobile app for ooVoo as well, which costs nothing. Both the computer and the mobile versions are available for Mac as well as Windows (iOS or Android OS) and both of them offer video calling between computers and mobile phones, assuming that your phone has that tech spec. There is a list of the different mobiles it works with on the Android Market page as well as the Apple App store. Since I do not own an iPhone, I was unable to test that version, so if you have tried it, please post your comments in the comments section below.
The only real downsides I found to ooVoo were the premium features, and the adbar. The premium features themselves are not a bad thing, but the fact that some features are limited in the free version may put some people off of trying this ooVoo in the first place. That’s a terrible shame because the free edition is a great program that has a lot to offer. The other downside, and this one is minor, is an adbar/toolbar that wants to install itself to your internet browser while you’re installing ooVoo. It is completely optional, however, and simply requires you to uncheck the ‘install’ box to avoid it entirely with no penalties or problems or it is very easily uninstalled if you decide you don’t like it, without affecting the ooVoo program itself.
In the end result, I think ooVoo is a great program that has a lot of potential to be a big player in the cyber-verse. Communication between friends, business associates, and even strangers (some stranger than others) is always going to be a staple of this great, free thing we call “The Internet” and ooVoo looks to be ready to carve it’s niche.
Until next time, my friends.