If you’re missing friends and family far away, you aren’t alone. Your dearest wish may be to bring everyone together may not be possible in the physical world, but you can get your loved ones together in the virtual world.
Last week I interviewed Rajesh Midha, Vice-President, Corporate & Business Development at ooVoo about their video calling service. OoVoo offers video calling from your computer, smartphone or tablet for free. You can have a 6-way video call for free and up to a 12-way video call if you upgrade to a premium account. As Midha observes, “No one has to be alone for the holidays. Friends and family all over the world can get together through ooVoo.”
If you want to preserve the special memories of the video chat, ooVoo allows you to record your video calls. You can email these video files to others or post the video on Facebook or YouTube for wider distribution. “Oovoo is at the juncture of social and communication,” says Midha.
If you want to participate in a video chat, you will need a webcam (many laptops come with webcams) or a mobile device equipped with a camera, such as a smartphone or a tablet. Ridha points out that, “ooVoo is not just multi-party, it’s multi-platform.”
If you want to use ooVoo on your mobile device, you can download the ooVoo app here:
ooVoo for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch: ooVoo in the iTunes App Store
ooVoo for Android: ooVoo in the Android Market
The ooVoo app works on mobile devices over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G (LTE) networks. Be sure if you are calling via ooVoo using data instead of Wi-Fi that you don’t exceed the cap on your data plan to avoid unnecessary surprises on your next cell phone bill. (See, Mind the Cap!)
To use ooVoo, go to www.oovoo.com, sign up for an ooVoo account and download the software to your computer. You can add contacts by connecting ooVoo to your email, Facebook and/or Twitter accounts. OoVoo also allows people to participate in a video chat through a web browser without downloading ooVoo software or signing up for an account.
Settings => Audio & Video => Check Your Video and Audio Settings.
To place a video call, click on a contact and the video call will start. You can add more people to the call by clicking on the toolbar at the top of the screen => Add to Call. If someone doesn’t have a webcam or smartphone, he can still participate in the call via telephone.
To record a video call, when you’re connected, click on Actions => Record and the video call will be recorded. The other participants on the call will see a pop-up notice at the bottom of the screen notifying them that the call is being recorded.
To test ooVoo, I participated in a 5-way video call with members of the ooVoo team, including one participant, Laura, who connected using her Android phone. Connecting was easy and the feed from all five cameras was clear, including from the Android phone. You can see the video here:
If you want an ad-free experience or multi-party calls with up to twelve participants, check out ooVoo’s premium plans. These plans give added benefits such as minutes for voice calls to mobile phones in the US, Canada, Hong Kong & China and landlines in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Hong Kong, China and Israel. The Plus Plan is $9.95/month or $89.95/year and gives ad-free video calls and 200 minutes of voice calling time a month. The Pro Plan is $29.95/month or $269.95/year and gives up to 12 way video calls and 500 minutes of voice calling time per month. More details on the Plus and Pro plans can be found here: ooVoo Plans
OoVoo has a Facebook page with 1.5 million followers that allows you to meet other ooVoo users with mutual interests. Midha gave the example of someone who is interested in tech and international travel being able to find someone with similar interests for a video chat on ooVoo. You can find ooVoo’s Facebook page here: ooVoo on Facebook.
Will you be apart from your loved ones for the holidays? Would you like a way to connect with them using video chat? Let us know in the Comments section below!