Recently, the Viber Philippines team sent me an e-mail message introducing Viber 3.1 for Windows 8. Being a Viber for Windows 7 user, all I can do was rewrite the press release they sent and post it in my Tumblr Blog with the usual reposts to many of the social news and bookmarking sites I use. No unboxing and reviews.
So, before I continue, here’s the poster I recreated and posted in my Tumblr blog to introduce the Windows 8 desktop version to the online world:
Continuing my story, I have been using Skype the desktop version 99 percent of the time for the past half-a-decade more for business communications. If I see a notice that a person wants me to add him or her to my list of Skype connections, I would only do so if I personally know the person, I have dealt with the person in the past on business terms, or am currently corresponding with the person through e-mail or other messaging apps that is still business in nature. Otherwise, I clearly ignore the request, and mind you I have ignored quite a lot already. I do not do “getting-to-know-you chats” on Skype.
Which left a big hole in my personal communications medium. In pre-Internet terms, I grew up in the CB days, making sure my radio has SSB and I would erect a big, strong antenna on my parent’s rooftop (three-element Yagi, anyone?) to their fear of tearing up the roof during strong typhoons. Then, I entered the BBS world and eventually moved to ICQ during the dial-up era. So, I am very much a believer and hands-on user of both text-based and voice-based communications. When AOL introduced their IM, I quickly enrolled in their service, snatching the IM account of friends so I would have a long list on my pop-up window. I even used it for business communications while a Dilbert in cubicles; rather than call up my office colleagues through our internal PBX network, IM was much better and quicker. Until now, I still maintain my AOL e-mail account.
Then, Yahoo’s IM hit the market which quickly displaced AOL’s version. There was also Chikka’s IM desktop app that allowed me to send free text messages to mobile phones. At one time, a local telco allowed its subscribers to send SMS using a regular e-mail message; I wonder if that still exists. In recent times, Facebook dominated my text-based communications on a personal level. But the apps of Facebook for mobile phones are dreadfully heavy and cumbersome. I wasn’t too happy with WhatsUp. And WeChat? Sorry, not in my lifetime.
I own a Nokia Lumia 610 which was the first black unit ever sold (to me) at the nearest Nokia store. Two years ago, this was a great phone and not being a nut on smartphones (meaning I don’t switch from one brand or model like a burning incense), I usually stick it out for two years or more. The Viber app with my Lumia is limited to text; I can’t even see stickers much less photos. Which is why I turned to Viber Desktop.
I realized I am always on my laptop about 80 percent of the time I’m awake. Though Skype is also up, I began to notice more friends, even relatives, communicating with me through Viber than traditional SMS. Even the mother of my kids is on Viber (Oh, no! LOL!) Long-lost friends are suddenly chatting with me in Viber. New business leads and existing customers don’t even have to ask me what my Viber account is – my mobile phone number is tied to it.
I work for GoAutoDial Inc., a company that provides VoIP-based solutions to businesses that operate telemarketing and customer service teams or businesses that are call centers in nature. One open source product, two versions of usage, and four paid services. I’ve been in the call center industry for more than a decade, even having worked for three call centers in North and South America besides the Philippines. So, I know what and which conversational app is good and not so good. Only because Facebook is today’s main funnel of general and personal news and information between friends and acquaintances do I use its messenger feature. Which led me to compose the title of my blog: Viber is to Facebook What Skype is to LinkedIn.
My personal text-based communications and a small but increasing percentage of business ones are today conducted using Viber. Skype still holds the more traditional business communications method today, especially for its conference call feature which Viber is not capable of (or is it?) The only thing Viber doesn’t have plenty of is the information about their product – too little information. You don’t even have to scroll down in the FAQ web page; it is that short. This lack of information tends to create not only false assumptions or reviews but even stale ones. People are creating unofficial YouTube videos regarding how-to’s. I wish Viber, now under the helm of Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce and Internet company which owns the largest e-commerce site in it country, can spew out more official information from their website. But then, maybe it’s their way much like it was the way of the late Steve Jobs offering products without user’s manuals.
So, I’ll leave it up to you (my dear reader) to go to the official Viber site and download their desktop version on your laptop. It’s fairly easy to install, set up and use – not much of the technical flair as with similar apps. I guess that’s how Viber likes it. If you are a Windows 8 desktop user, then click or copy paste www.bit.ly/Viber4Windows8. The user interface actually looks great but no video calls (yet).