ooVoo

ooVoo Video Calls & Messaging

With over 50 thousand new apps published each month, Silicon Valley continues to tread both new and old ground. As digital communication dominates modern work and play, tech entrepreneurs are working tirelessly to build the next generation of apps to connect us and transform the ways in which we collaborate and communicate remotely. Over the past two decades, we’ve advanced considerably, and start-ups turned acquisitions like Skype and WhatsApp testify to this fact.

ooVoo is a video chat and messaging service that has a long history, but its developers continue to try out new spins on an old concept. ooVoo is a free, high-quality video and instant messaging app available on common platforms such as Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android as well as less popular ones like Nobia Symbian. Any device running these operating systems can download and use the ooVoo application free of charge, but with ads.

So what’s the value-add? Essentially, ooVoo tries to improve the multimedia communication experience and bring friends closer together through high-quality streaming and a bevy of social sharing functionalities. This cloud-based messaging service targets individual users and has continued to lead the social video messaging niche alongside Skype. Below, we’ll take a look at ooVoo’s features to determine how successful the developers are at staying in the lead for video calls and messaging.

ooVoo Multimedia Messaging

ooVoo combines video and instant text messaging. The app combines these channels in the same space to make it easier to manage chats and video history. Each contact you have listed with the app should be accessible for either chat or video calling. Users can also participate in voice only calls with other users regardless of what device they are using. This feature alone is a practical function for everyday use, but the app builds upon it rather creatively. Users in video calls can share files and videos, including YouTube videos, which play directly in the chat area.

Compatibility

ooVoo is widely available, which is a key component in any messaging service. Because this app is available on all the most popular app stores, it is extremely easy to access and simple to set up. It should take, at most, a few minutes for new users to find, install, and get set up on the service.

Anyone can connect to the app at any time as long, as they’ve got an internet connection. This is great for the modern remote team, family, or group of friends. ooVoo works with WiFi, LTE, 4G, and 3G networks. Tests reveal fairly clear voice and video quality across network types. These attributes are a definite advantage for the ooVoo app, and its technical dependability and accessibility get good scores here.

One thing new users will appreciate is the integration with other social media applications. Instead of creating a new account on the app from scratch, users on ooVoo can sign up using their Facebook credentials. Users without a Facebook account can still sign up, but this accelerated sign up option allows users to get started right away with a pre-stocked set of possible contacts imported from their Facebook friend list. This integration is an especially good example of Facebook authentication on mobile apps. Because ooVoo is fundamentally social, integration with Facebook is a no-brainer.

ooVoo video call

ooVoo Interface

ooVoo boasts some pretty neat interface tricks. For the artistically inclined, the video chat “collage” effect is rather attractive. The interface allows you to engage in eight simultaneous video streams, which is quite impressive and is great for group meetings. The app displays the video streams on one screen and is highly usable even on your mobile device. The service allows you to monitor priority chats on your device’s screen and respond without closing other chats.

These eight video streams can be separate or grouped up. So whether you’re having eight separate conversations (good luck with that) or one big one, the app can accommodate your needs. ooVoo’s video quality is also rather high quality, which is a feature many users will surely treasure. The ability to seamlessly engage in multiple chats is a major plus for an app like this, especially for professional use where reliability is essential.

An interesting but useful feature is ooVoo’s video voicemail box. If you’re unable to connect for a live meeting with one of your contacts, you can choose to leave either a text or video message. Video voicemail is a unique addition that many users may enjoy over traditional voicemail or chat messaging. Think of it like FaceTime for voicemail.

Whether using video, image, text, or audio, users are able to share files with their contacts from one device to another. This file transfer tool brings even more functions onto the app. Rather than sending email attachments mid-chat, users can use ooVoo for communication and sharing. Though this isn’t unusual for an app like this, the clean user interface for file sharing is a definite time-saver. Additionally, when it comes to media uploading, ooVoo offers several convenient options, including Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC).

ooVoo Chains

ooVoo has engineered a feature called “ooVoo Chains” that sets it apart from the pack. Basically, Chains is a functionality that allows app users to create a collection of short videos, images, and text on their profile. Users can record video, edit video and photography, and share media with their friends, families, and colleagues on the app. Users can also contribute to each other’s Chains.

The service boasts an interesting suite of unique features that seem tailored specifically for social messaging. These include the ability to stream YouTube on your video chats. These integrations are great examples of how the app attempts to simulate real-life social sharing.

Price

With countless messaging apps on the market, pricing is always a factor for new users. The good news is that ooVoo is entirely free. This makes the service terrific for both individuals and enterprises alike.

The Downsides

Every product has its downsides, so let’s take a look at what we’re not loving about the ooVoo messaging application. There are a few areas that users may not dig about this service.

ooVoo has apparently caused quite a stir with parents that are concerned about their teenagers using the service. This is a major liability for the community and has been an issue with the brand for some time. Though the app does prohibit users under 13 years of age, effective controls for the community to ensure safety are challenging to enforce.

Furthermore, confusion about how social networking aspects of the application work could cause some users to accidentally share more than they wish to. It’s difficult to single out this app on any of this, however. All things considered, more privacy-conscious default options would be a workable solution to the issues raised by consumer groups.

One aspect of this app that users may find frustrating is the advertisements. Though it costs nothing to use ooVoo, you do have to deal with quite a few ads on the free version. If you find it too burdensome, you can always subscribe to the ad-free version at a very low cost. With ad-free services out there in the market though, an ad-heavy service may not be for everyone.

Lastly, some complications arise when video chatting between devices. A larger suite of in-app features is available to users on Mac and PC. Mobile device users, however, are given a smaller feature set due to the lower capacity and processing power of the tech. Though ooVoo can connect these users for basic video streaming and calling, the differentials interfere with the seamlessness of the end-result.

This product is not ideal for every enterprise. Due to the hegemonic status of competitors like Skype, the service is distinctively tailored for social media use. This is why parent groups are laser-focused on it, but also why your corporation may choose to avoid it. Facebook interaction and social sharing functionality work less for traditional workplaces than start-ups and friend groups. Though the tech is strong, these features are not appropriate for every setting compared to a more conservative, fundamental service like Skype.

Conclusion

ooVoo is not new to the video messaging game, but they continue to innovate in refreshing ways. Whether you choose to stick with the app is really a matter of your preferences and needs, but if you are interested in video conferencing and social media technology, you should check out ooVoo.

About The Author
Katrina O'Reilly
Kat goes by her gamer handle MissTRex. Born in Jaynesfield Wisconsin, she studied game design at Full Sail University. She has a penchant for anything "geeky" and is still a huge gamer.