Viber hits desktop, iOS app gains video chat, live call transfer, new stickers and more

Viber desktop (teaser 001)

Viber, the popular instant messaging service and WhatsApp’s chief rival, has fallen behind a bit in the past year or so. Not only did WhatsApp take the lead – the service claims to handle an astounding eighteen billion messages every day – but the search monster Google is getting ready to unify its many chat services under a new Bable IM brand.

Small wonder then that Viber in a major move on Tuesday announced a brand new desktop application for Mac and Windows PCs. Available as a free download from the Viber’s web site, Viber for Mac lets you send free messages as well as make free calls to other Viber users.

The much-welcomed software release now enables one to keep their communication in sync across mobile and desktop devices because in addition to desktop, Viber is now available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Nokia and Bada platforms.

Moreover, Viber – which was founded by American-Israeli entrepreneur Talmon Marco – has revamped its mobile iOS/Android client with video messages, an improved voice engine said to help improve call quality and lots more. Go past the fold for an introductory video and more tidbits…

Viber for Mac and Windows, as you’d expect, syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile devices. And of course, you can start the conversation on Viber for iPhone and continue right where you left off on your Mac.

From a news release:

One of the strengths of Viber is its easy activation process. The company has replicated the same process with Viber Desktop. As soon as you enter your mobile number and a confirmation code which is sent to your mobile Viber app, you are ready to go!

All of your mobile Viber contacts are instantly and continuously synced from your mobile Viber to Viber Desktop.

You can even transfer ongoing VoIP calls between devices.

Other features of the desktop Viber client include video calls, HD voice calls, free text and photo messages, group conversations and more.

Here’s a short Viber Desktop video tour.

According to Viber, its service has passed 200 million registered users globally. Rival WhatsApp announced the 200 million users milestone back in March 2012.

In addition to the brand new desktop apps, Viber also revamped the mobile client. For starters, Viber mobile version 3.0 now supports video messages.

The new build includes localization in eight new languages (Czech, Danish, Greek, Finnish, Hungarian, Polish, Swedish, Turkish, Korean, Dutch, Thai, Vietnamese, Malay and Indonesian) and features the ability to transfer live calls between Viber on your iPhone and Viber on Desktop.

Viber 3.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 003)
Viber 3.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 004)

A new online indicator helps determine who’s online, in-app notifications for new messages kick in when Viber is active and you can now filter groups in messages screen to quickly find a specific group.

The visual makeover includes a redesigned contact info screen, larger photos/thumbnails, the ability to browse photos from particular users/groups and other UI tweaks.

Viber now cleverly downloads new photos for faster viewing and lets you even add a caption to the photos and videos being sent. And last, but not the least, Viber 3.0 contains new packages of obligatory stickers, the latest fad popularized by recent sticker-related updates to Path, Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps.

Viber 3.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)
Viber 3.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)

Viber 3.0 is available free from the App Store and Google’s Play Store for Android.

The previous version 2.3 update brought out such enhancements as emoticons, locations, stickers and group conversations with up to 40 participants.

According to a study by Informa, it may be high time for those greedy wireless carriers to wake up and smell the data coffee as Internet-based chat platforms like WhatsApp, Viber and Apple’s iMesage combined have overtaken SMS globally, by volume.

I’m really glad Viber made a jump on the desktop and hopefully rival instant messaging platforms will follow suit soon.

The ball is now in WhatsApp’s court.

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