Since its launch in 2007 ooVoo has helped refine the consumer video chat market with its free high definition app. In the process it has become a favourite with the teenagers and young adults under 25 who make up more than two thirds of its 46m users.
Now the New York-based company’s management team, led by executive chairman Robert Jackman, is trying to consolidate its grip on the youth market with a upgrade to its social video chat service designed to make it easier to use and available on more devices.
Among the new features are a Facebook app that allows up to 12 participants to join an online video chat session and an iPad app with the ability to view four simultaneous HD video streams at once.
In addition to sharing video chats on Facebook, ooVoo users can send invitations via email or by texting an ooVoo call link The person sent the invitation needs only click on the link. They are taken to a Web based version of ooVoo to join the chat immediately.
ooVoo also offers apps for PCs, the iPhone and Android-powered devices.
For the first time ooVoo users can also record and upload their video chat sessions to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Yuval Baharav, ooVoo’s chief executive, said the new apps were designed to appeal to its young users who often use ooVoo to provide a background social video session while they do their homework or to remotely collaborate on projects and listen to music.
He said the average ooVoo user already chalks up about 200 minutes of video chat sessions per month. “This release was driven by our daily interactions with our users, and by our vision of an open communications platform that seamlessly becomes part of our users’ social lives,” Mr Baharav said.
One of ooVoo’s claimed advantages over many of its rivals, including Sykpe. is that it is a cloud-based service rather than a peer-to-peer service. This makes it easier to maintain video quality, the company claims. Certainly, in my brief tests using the ooVoo iPad app, video quality was very good with few dropped frames or annoying ‘jitters.’