Google Hangouts vs Viber
Latest news about Google Hangouts and Viber:
17.02.14. Japanese internet giant acquires Viber. Japanese company Rakuten acquires perhaps, the main Skype's rival right now - Viber for $900 million. And of course it remind of the recent fring acquisition by American company Genband, after which fring was transformed to white-label communnication platform for telecom providers. However, in this case don't worry about Viber. Rakuten isn't going to close it or trandform for it's specific business. They will just invest money in Viber hoping to win Skype and somehow return their investments (for example, by selling ViberOut voice call minutes). Ratuken is running diversified business by investing into internet startups. For example, they own the ebook platform Kobo, co-own Pinterest, Play.com and some other online projects. Recall, Viber - is a cross-platform instant messenger that supports free voice and video calling. At the moment, this service is used by about 300 million people.
13.02.14. Google Hangouts now can connect to Polycom, Cisco and other videoconferencing systems. Recently we reported that Google unveiled video conferencing system for meeting rooms Chromebox for Meetings. But the adventures of Google in this area haven't ended with this news. It turns out that Vidyo (the maker of enterprise video communication systems) provides backend for Google Hangouts. And this company added to this backend a new service VidyoH2O, which allows Google Hangouts users to participate in videomeetings with corporate videoconferencing systems - Polycom, Cisco, Avaya, Lifesize and others (supporting H.323/SIP standards). So, there is a great potential for establishing intercompany video meetings. However, this service is not free - it costs from $99/month per concurrent user.
10.02.14. Google unveiled video conferencing system for meeting rooms. Enterprise video conferencing systems (like Polycom, Tandberg ...) cost tens and hundreds thousands of dollars, and their installation and maintenance - is a difficult task. On the other hand videochat services (like Skype, GoToMeeting ...) can't provide the effect of presence that will let business users to completely abandon trips. Therefore, gasoline and airline tickets are still among the the main expenditures in many companies. Google decided to fight this evil and launched the professional video conferencing system based on Google Hangouts - Chromebox for Meetings. It costs just $999 + $250/year (the subscription fee is paid starting from the second year). As you can understand from the title, the system is based on the Chromebox - Google's desktop computer running Chrome OS. In addition, it includes Logitech HD camera, microphone, remote control and any LCD TV. ***
2013. Viber now can call landline and mobile phones. Until now Microsoft wasn't touching Skype and most people continue to use it. But if MS take just one mistake step - there is a crowd of services that want to replace Skype as a defacto-standard of Internet communications. And the first in this crowd is Viber. This service gained considerable popularity (over 200 million users) thanks to mobile-first strategy and simple authorization via mobile number. And at the moment Viber and Skype are virtually identical in their features. Recently Viber eliminated, perhaps, the last gap - added the ability to call landline and mobile phones at cheap rates. Rates (as expected) - are slightly lower than Skype. For example, 2.5 cents to Indian landlines (4.5 cents to mobile phones), 2.3 cents to Mexico (9.9 cents to mobile), 2.3 cents to all China numbers and 1.9 cents to the U.K. (5.9 cents to mobile). This new feature works on Android, iPhone and Viber dektop (PC and Mac).
2013. Voice calling is back in Google Hangouts. As you know, in result of the epic merger of Google communication services (GMail Chat, Google Talk and Google Hangouts) only Google Hangouts remained, but it had no voice feature (only chat and video chat). So, the ability to make VoIP-calls also disappeared from GMail and it was unpleasant surprise for many users. That's why Google (after just 2 months) is adding voice to Hangouts. Now you can call over the Internet from GMail, Google+ and Hangouts app for Chrome. You can make PC2PC or PC2Phone call. You can also connect participants to Hangouts conference via VoIP call. But to make sure that we won't die of happiness, Google is not adding voice to the Hangouts mobile apps (for iOS and Android). So, for while you can only call from the desktop.
2013. Google unites GTalk and Hangouts. Google engineers have so much work to do (mostly for Google Glass), that they simply don't have time to fix other (useful) products. For several years we have been waiting when Google finally unites its separated communication services in order to create competitive Skype alternative. And finally, they spent few weeks and implemented the half of this task. Google Talk messenger is now replaced by Google Hangouts videochat. Google has released two Hangouts mobile apps: for Android and iOS. In addition, Hangouts is available in GMail and Google+. All your Hangouts chat apps are synchronized, so you can start conversation on your computer (in GMail) and continue it out of the office on your phone. In chat you can insert pictures and videos from Youtube. Video chat supports up to 10 people simultaneously. ***
2013. Viber launched desktop version. Mobile video chat Viber managed to gain popularity while Skype was very slow in its moving to mobile platforms. And now it already has 200 million users and it seems to be the first in line of those services who wants to replace Skype as an independent communications app. Yesterday Viber released the desktop versions for PC and Mac. However, to start using them, you still have to install the mobile app first, because in Viber the accounts are linked to phone numbers. The most interesting feature in Viber's desktop version is that you can move seamlessly from desktop to smartphone and back without terminating the call. In addition, all messages (and contacts, of course) are automatically synced between the mobile and desktop versions and incoming call comes only to the device (computer) on which you are working right now.
2012. Google offers Google+ as an enterprise social network. Enterprise social networks a la Facebook have become very popular business tool: companies have learned to use it efficiently and vendors are ready to eat each other for a place in the market (for example, Microsoft ate Yammer). Meanwhile Google, in its business suite Google Apps haven't provided the social networking tool so far. So Google decided to fill this gap with Google+ for Google Apps, which has become available for everybody today. It allows you to use your company page on Google+, not only as a front-end in the social network, but also as an internal collaboration and communication tool. Employees can add messages that are visible only within the company and can't be shared to public. They can also start video conferencing meetings via Hangouts, which will be open only for other employees (and invited external parties). ***
2012. Google replaces GMail Video chat with Google Hangouts. Google should have integrated the variety of its Chat/voice/video services and applications long time ago. And just now they start to do it with the simplest and most effective step - replacement of GMail's video chat with Google Hangouts. Both services are using the same browser plug-in and the same authorization base. But Hangouts provides much more features: free videoconferencing for 10 participants, screen-sharing, whiteboarding, collaborative editing of Google Docs, simultaneous Youtube-video co-watching, webinars, etc. (there is a even a catalog of third-party apps that work with Hangouts). Also, now you can make video calls not only to contacts who are in GMail, but also to those who is in Google +, and not only in browser, but also on Android, iPhone or iPad. Google will be rolling out the new feature during 2 weeks.
2012. Google+ Hangouts comes to iPad and iPhone. It's very strange that Apple doesn't really try to become the video chat king, and even doesn't prevent the competitors of using its platform for this matter. Though it was Apple's iPhone that made mobile video chat popular and Skype position not so strong. But since then Apple's video chat app Facetime didn't progress, and competitors continue to use it. Yesterday Google released a new Google+ app for iPad with Hangouts video chat and updated Google+ for iPhone app, that now also supports Hangouts. Recall, Google Hangouts allows you to organize online video meetings with up to 10 users - for free. In addition to iOS, Google's video chat works on Android smartphones and tablets, as well as on any computer via a web browser and a small plug-in.
2011. Google adds phone conferencing to Hangouts. What was the Skype's killer feature that made it super-popular? Video calling. And on what Skype is making money? On IP-telephony. Google wasn't able to repeat the same trick with GTalk/GMail/Google Voice. Because people got used to Skype already. But maybe Google will succeed with the rapidly growing group video chat Google Hangouts. That's what Google is going to do - integrate Hangouts with IP-telephony. The new tool in Google Hangouts already allows to call landlines and mobile phones and connect people that are not currently by a computer to the online meeting. This is especially important for business meetings when you need to connect client or partner to your meeting. However, meanwhile these external calls work only in the United States and Canada (and work for free). But it's no doubt that soon it will become available in other countries via paid Google Voice calls.
2011. Google+ launched pages for companies and brands. After Google opened its social network Google+ for Google Apps business users, it didn't make enterprises waiting for a long time with the next step. Today it added an opportunity to create pages for companies and brands, like on Facebook. Many companies have already done it. Here are examples of business pages: Toyota, Pepsi, FC Barcelona, Angry Birds. And though it's not possible to select vanity URLs yet, spend 5 minutes and create a page for your company right now. You can do it here: plus.google.com/pages/create. Company page in a social network - is a great way to make your business closer to your customers and partners (and to find new ones). Of course, meanwhile the Google + Pages are less functional than Facebook Pages: you can't publish RSS-feed, only one person can add messages, widgets for websites and apps are not ready yet. But there are two major benefits. ***
2011. Google + Hangouts turned into full-featured web-conferencing tool. Lebanese developer's hack, which allowed text collaboration in Google+ Hangouts didn't remain a hack so long. Today's Google+ update has added much more new features to Hangouts. First, it's an opportunity to share your screen (Screen-sharing). Second, is the ability to collaboratively draw on a whiteboard. Third, is the ability to collaboratively edit Google Docs documents. Fourth, is the ability to create broadcasts for the unlimited number of viewers (the number of active participants is limited to 10). Fifth, Google Hangouts videochat now works on Android-smartphones. And finally, sixth, Google has opened the official API for Hangouts, so you don't need to hack it, as the Lebanese programmer in order to create your own application for Hangouts. By the way, the social network Google + is now open to all. Is your company ready for this?
2011. Real-time code-collaboration in Google+ Hangouts. An open source software engineer, Mohamed Mansour, has created an extension for Google+ Hangouts - Hangout Pad for Google+, which allows you to collaborate on the text (or program code) while communicating in video chat. Although this extension is still to buggy, it's very interesting for several reasons. First, it doesn't use the official Google + API (because it doesn't exist so far). Hangout Pad is a plug-in for Google Chrome browser and embeds into Hangouts video chat using a complex hack (via Google Shared Spaces and Google Wave protocol). However, this tool shows the opportunities of expanding Google Hangouts (beware Skype!). The collaboration window (in this case the code editor) is located above the user video streams and it can contain anything. In addition, it is a cool demonstration of the future integration between Google Hangouts and Google Docs.
2011. Web video chat: Google Hangouts vs Facebook Skype. A great battle between Google and Skype (Microsoft) for the video calling market continues on a new platform - the Social Web. Last week Google launched (in Beta) their social network Google + and one of it's features is the group video chat Hangouts. And yesterday the built-in Skype-based video chat appeared in Facebook. Both video chat apps work directly in browser, which signals about the transition of video calling applications to web-technologies (although both apps require the installation of a small browser plug-in). ***
2011. Viber takes on Skype with free HD VoIP calls. When VoIP-telephony lived mostly on desktops, it is difficult to imagine that someone could become a serious competitor for Skype. Even Google failed to solve this task. But now when the VoIP market is rapidly expanding to mobile devices, Skype can't feel so confident any more. Unlike the world of computers (where it was possible to develop single Windows-client), the world of mobile platforms is much more complicated. First, there are many of them, and second - it needs to develop the other VoIP technology. Therefore, the old rivals and even new startups are trying to take on Skype in the mobile VoIP sphere. Viber - is one of the newcomers. This service launched at the end of last year and has already attracted several millions of users. So by means of what Viber is going to beat Skype? ***