Great New ooVoo Release!

Good grief, I go away for a few days and what happens? ooVoo comes out with a new release (1.

Good grief, I go away for a few days and what happens? ooVoo comes out with a new release (1.7), and it's a beauty! As with the 1.6 release, it is a huge leap forward, and it shows that they are really paying attention to their users, and the market in general, and they are moving steadily in the right direction. To back that up, they have renewed their "30-day free trial" offer for their "Super" version.

The new release has three big changes:

- High Resolution Video. You can now have 640x480 resolution, if your webcam is capable of that. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the built-in webcam in my Fujitsu Lifebook S6510 will do this resolution, and it looks very nice. (I expected my Philips SPC1300 and SPC900 cameras to be capable of high resolution, but the built-in cam was a bonus.) I particularly like the way it is implemented - a simple button at the top of the video chat window, you click it and if your camera will do it, you get it; if it won't, you don't. Period. It sure beats the heck out of the Skype silliness with High Quality Video being restricted to three "anointed" Logitech webcams, and even if you have one of those you have to pray that Skype's mysterious HQ Video routine will not deem your computer, or your internet connection, to be unworthy and refuse to run at 640x480. When HQ Video starts, you get a special symbol in you video preview window showing that HQ is active, and on the other end your video window automatically increases in size. Both ooVoo clients have to be on the 1.7 release to get HQ Video, by the way.

- Video chat with non-ooVoo friends. Along the lines of the SightSpeed Light flash client, and the TokBox flash-based video chat, ooVoo now offers chat between the ooVoo client and a flash-based client. From the main ooVoo window you choose "Actions", and then "call non-ooVoo friends". It sets up a video chat window, and then gives you a URL which you can send to a friend via email, IM, or whatever, and when they enter that URL in their browser, they will join your video chat. For the time being this only works with browsers on Windows, but they say they are working on removing that restriction, and my experience with ooVoo producing what they promise has been very good so far.

- Find Your Friends. The new release is able to search your contacts in lots of social networks (FaceBook, MySpace, Bebo...), other IM programs (AOL, MSN, Skype...), email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, GMail...) and more.

Best of all, ooVoo is once again offering a 30-day free trial of their Super package. Besides including 6-way video chat (vs. 3-way in the free version), the trial package inludes 15 minutes of phone calls to the U.S. and Canada (from anywhere in the world!), and a lot more. If you haven't tried ooVoo yet, or weren't convinced before this new offer is a great chance to see how they are doing now.

I have a lot more testing to do with this new release, so I'm sure I'll be writing about it again in the next few days. My initial impression of it is very, very good.

jw 28/7/2008