Video Chat - ooVoo 2.0 Released

ooVoo has released their version 2.0 for Windows, and it is gorgeous.
Written by J.A. Watson, Contributor on

ooVoo has released their version 2.0 for Windows, and it is gorgeous. I've just downloaded and installed it on my Lifebook S6510 and HP 2133 Mini-Note. I obviously haven't had much time to test it yet, but what I have done so far has produced excellent results.

I've tested the Mini-Note using its built-in webcam, microphone and speakers, and everything worked flawlessly. The picture was crisp and clear, and sound was excellent - my subjective opinion is that the sound is even noticeably better than it was with the previous version of ooVoo. I also tested on this system using both the wired (Gigabit) and wireless-G network connections, and both performed well.

I've tested on the Lifebook S6510 using the built-in webcam and a Philips SPC900NC webcam; using the built-in microphone and the microphone integrated in the Philips webcam, and using the built-in speakers and a set of Logitech V-20 USB speakers. In every case and in every combination, the performance was excellent.

The basic design of the program is still the same, with a reasonable sized main window, and an optional "favorites bar display" which reduces the size of the main window even more. There are some really nice changes to the main window display as well, allowing you to select the view of your contacts, between "thumbnail" (normal, what we have had until now), "icon", which has a much smaller picture, or "name", which shows the names only, without pictures. Each step reduces the size of each contact's display, and thus shows more contacts in the same window. This is the kind of thing that shows they are thinking about (and listening to) their users, and making improvements where they are really wanted, needed, and will be used.

They still have multi-party chat, of course; three-way in the free version, and up to six-way in the paid subscription "Super" version. You really don't know how nice this is, and how much better it makes ooVoo than the competition, until you've tried it for yourself. It is spectacular. If you chat with several family members, as I do, having them all in the same chat is great; if you use it for business, having several work group members, customers and/or suppliers in the same conversation can be invaluable.

It appears that they have improved the "web client" from previous releases, it is now called "web video call". The functionality is still the same, it allows others to make video calls to you from their web browser, without having to download and install the ooVoo client. They also have a "call me" button that you can embed in your blog, web page, social network pages and such, so people can simply click that button in their browser to call you. More good thinking!

There's more, of course, but this covers the highlights. You can check their web page for more information, or just download the new client and give it a try. At the moment they have only released the 2.0 version for Windows. However, based on their previous track record, I suspect that a Mac version will be along before too long. Now, if I could just convince them to make a Linux version... I'll keep trying...

jw 3/2/2009

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