An interesting bit of rumor has been doing the rounds lately across the blogosphere. According to some Facebook users, the popular social network might be testing a new ‘Call‘ feature on the user profile pages. These users have reported to have noticed this button appear on the top right of their friends’ profile pages. However, pressing this button did not initiate any calls and neither have their friends reported to have received any alerts.
It is being speculated that Facebook may integrate its service with Skype’s VoIP calling service. It is worth noting that both these companies had signed a partnership late last year that will make it easy for Facebook users to call and video chat with their friends using Skype. Is the partnership already bearing fruits? We will await an official confirmation in this regard.
After rolling out group video calling to consumer clients on desktop and mobile platforms, Skype has now rolled out the feature to the Business version of the VoIP service. The new feature will allow 3 to 10 business users to connect via Skype to engage in video conferencing. The Business version of Skype lets enterprise administrators to deploy Skype to employees besides turning on or off the various features that Skype comes with. The group video calling feature is available on Skype Business accounts at a price of $8.99 per user per month. Long term subscription plans also come at a discounted price.
Skype has also revealed a few other interesting details in their media report. They note that 37% of Skype users have used the service for a business purpose at least once. Also, 41.5% of Skype minutes in the second half of 2010 was consumed by group video calling. Quite clearly, Skype sees a lot of promise in this new feature in 2011.
Google introduced the highly disruptive free voice calling feature on Gmail to customers in the United States and Canada earlier this year. The service lets users to simply pick a contact or dial a number to start talking to them like they would with any regular phone. In addition to voice calling, the feature also allowed for video chatting and international calling at nominal rates.
The deal breaker was though that the free service was expected to expire by the end of this year. No longer. Google has revealed that they planned to extend the free voice calling functionality until the end of next year. In a recently published blog post, a Google spokesperson has written,
“When we launched calling in Gmail back in August, we wanted it to be easy and affordable, so we made calls to the U.S. and Canada free for the rest of 2010. In the spirit of holiday giving and to help people keep in touch in the new year, we’re extending free calling for all of 2011.”
If you are someone who loves talking to friends over your iPhone, here is an application that you would love. Viber is a recently launched app that helps to reduce your monthly bills by letting you call your friends over VoIP. But unlike Skype, you do not have to register with an account to start using Viber. The application automatically scans your address book to compile a list of contacts who have Viber installed on their iDevices. This enables you to call these contacts for free using Viber.
While the app works over Wi-Fi as well as 3G networks, do note that you may end up with high monthly bills unless you have a 3G-friendly data plan. The application is presently available only on the Apple App Store though an alternate version for Android and Blackberry platforms are soon on the way.
Unlike Google Voice, where the user is required to press on a non-intuitive ‘4‘ to initiate a call recording, the feature on Gmail comes with a prominent record button above the dialpad that can be clicked on to start recording. Also, as it is on Google Voice, doing so will offer a notification to both parties that their call is now being recorded.
There are a couple of caveats at the moment though. Firstly, only incoming voice calls can be recorded. Secondly, this feature only works on those calls that are routed through Google Voice. That means, if the call is directly between two Gmail contacts, it may not work.
Do you see this functionality on your Gmail account yet?
If you an Android handset like HTC Wildfire that has a pretty low resolution compared to other popular smartphones in the market, then you may have realized that the current version of Skype app for Android does not support these devices. Now, the popular VoIP communications company has announced a new version of their Android app that brings their service to Android devices with smaller resolution like 320×240 and 240×400.
Apart from this additional resolution compatibility, Skype for Android 1.0.1 now also comes with additional features like support for hardware back key, improved performance on accounts with large contacts lists and reduced power consumption in idle mode. Also, the new application consumes less space on the device and unlike the earlier version, the new app automatically exists the Skype app while signing out.
You can download the latest app by visiting the Android market or by visiting skype.com/m from your Android phone. Do you like the new version?
Most importantly, the user interface seems to be reworked quite a bit. The contacts address book is now available as a floating bar for easy access and it is also integrated with the Mac address book. There is also a new calling bar that makes it easy to hang up the call from any screen. If you are a user with a pretty weak internet connection, you should also happy about the new auto-reconnect feature.
But group video calling is definitely the highlight of this new download. You can watch a demo of the application in the video embedded below. Click here for the download link and here for the latest from Skype.
There are a number of VoIP applications for the iOS and Android platforms now that you really don’t want one another service. But netTalk, whose apps for the mobile platform were only recently released, comes with a number of other features that really makes it an interesting service that you should check out.
As the title suggests, netTalk lets users make free VoIP calls to their friends and family. The free service is restricted to contacts inside USA and Canada though. These calls can be made either via 3G, EDGE or Wi-Fi networks. In addition to free VoIP calls, the netTalk app also includes support for conference calling, the ability to record conversations as well as contact import from the smartphone to the app. This will serve as a good way to backup your contacts in case you happen to lose them.
The team is already reported to be working on a future version that will include support for low-rate international calling and the ability to link to a netTalk DUO number that can be connected to a computer.
However,a newly hacked version of the Skype app now makes it possible for American users to make Skype calls over their 3G network. This is thanks to the popular Android developer nicknamed Xeudoxus who is famous for the Dark Edge Android UI. Xeudoxus has now released a tweaked version of the Skype Android app that removes the restrictions placed on the official app. What’s impressive is that this hacked version does not require users to root their Android phones and can be downloaded straightaway by clicking this link.
Like this tweak? Don’t forget to make a donation to Xeudoxus here.
Skype; the world’s biggest VoIP telephony service has finally launched their highly anticipated app for the Android platform. With this new launch, Skype users shall be able to make free VoIP calls to other Skype users as well as text message for free over their Android handsets. The app is compatible over Android OS 2.1 or later and is available in all Android marketplaces except those in Japan and China. The app works over both 3G and Wi-Fi except in USA where it is Wi-Fi only.
The competition in the mobile VoIP calling space is evident considering that Fring too has announced an update to their app close on the heels of the Skype app launch. The latest update brings users the ability to call phone numbers over VoIP with the FringOut service. FringOut is available for as low as 1 cent per minute inside USA and is already available on the Symbian platform.
Fring has announced that a similar feature will be provided on the iPhone platform too shortly.