My ooVoo Experience

The past couple weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time playing around with ooVoo as part of the MyooVooDay project and playing with it with a few friends who have taken the plunge and downloaded the client as well.

I was lucky enough to get to spend some time chatting with some of my favorite people from Twitter as well as to meet some new friends during the MyooVooDay event. I did miss a couple of ooVoo sessions I was really hoping to catch (like one with Chris Brogan, who has his own ooVoo review here) due to unforeseen complications offline – but I’ve spent a few hours navigating the software and experiencing different configurations.

As I’ve only used it on the laptop, I’m speaking from the perspective of a PC user with XP loaded. My understanding is that there are some differing issues for Mac users – but I can’t address those.

So onto my review of it – with the caveat that it’s still in Beta, so I expect that many of these things will be addressed down the line.

Overview:

ooVoo is video calling application – what differentiates it between the more common players like Skype or Windows Live Messenger or their competitors is that you can have up to 6 people on the call. Additionally, you can open a chat window simultaneously, or use the client to place regular phone calls to any number in the world. If you are a PC user, you can also record however much of the session you’d like.

Positives:

  • Allows simultaneous video calling for up to 6 people
  • Allows users to either be called and added to the gathering or to call in to one of the participants and be added.
  • Allows user to initiate separate text chat box while in call – this can provide for 1-on-1 side conversation, multiple users, or even take the place of audio if one of the participants is having an issue with it.
  • Allows PC users to record portions or all of the session and save on hard-drive for later viewing or distribution.
  • Informs all users when they are being recorded so they have the option to disconnect if they don’t wish to be recorded.
  • Users can record ‘video voicemails’ for other users, to be viewed at a different time if they are offline or otherwise busy.
  • Main control panel shows status of other users on your ‘friends list’ so that you can see who is available or not – also allows user to type in customized status or message to others.

Areas that need work:

  • User search requires that other users have entered specifically searchable information… no requirement for valid names.
  • Calling other users requires adding them to your contacts list – and being added in return.
  • Apple users cannot record (at present).
  • Initial startup doesn’t walk new users through camera set-up or verifying settings – assumes a certain level of comfort with IM/internet calling programs and webcam configuration. If default webcam application running, cannot take control of camera or use.
  • Could use a timer/clock inside the program for users to track time
  • Video windows automatically rearrange themselves inside display depending on minimizing/maximizing and when someone enters or leaves. No ability to rearrange order manually or customize
  • Headphones with microphone are absolutely required – using built-in mic/speakers results in very bad echo/feedback with even just one user w/o headset. If multiple users w/o headsets, cacophony results to the point where no one can hear/understand.

Also, since there seem to be a number of similar applications, I thought it would make sense to review some of the differences that ooVoo offers at this time.

Differentiation between other similar applications/offerings

ooVoo vs. Yahoo! Live

  • Both allow multiple video users to be seen at the same time – ooVoo up to 6, Yahoo Live up to 5 (one in main window, 4 in ‘minor’ windows below – options to change out minor video feeds with others listed in the chat room)
  • Both allow simultaneous chat room activity – Yahoo Live allows anyone to join the chatroom, and to decide whether or not to stream video themselves
  • Yahoo Live allows user to change individual volumes for each video feed – increasing those that are quieter, decreasing the noisy – or even muting any of them. ooVoo’s volume bar controls all of the boxes simultaneously – so a louder input can drown out a quieter one.
  • ooVoo is private – only those invited into the call or accepted into the call can participate. Yahoo Live is open to anyone with a browser.
  • ooVoo allows recording and saving of the session – Yahoo Live does not (at this time.)
  • ooVoo allows searching for individual users – Yahoo Live does not (at this time) have searches other than ‘currently live’ or ‘by popularity.’

All in all, they both have video and chat rooms – but the target audiences seem very different.

ooVoo vs. Skype, IMs, IRC

  • ooVoo presently has the ability to mimic aspects of all of the others – the main variant is numbers. ooVoo allows multiple concurrent users unlike Skype or IM programs. But allows fewer users than an IRC channel, and is not public.
  • ooVoo is a ‘one-stop shop’ for these functions – no need to keep instances of all 3 of the others open in order to use the different aspects.
  • ooVoo is still in Beta, so there are bugs, feed issues, and not a lot of documentation on how to resolve errors right now.

As I guess you can tell by now, I’m fairly sold on ooVoo as an application. I think if marketed correctly, it can and will become a mainstay in several different arenas.

Yes, there are still some rough spots… honestly? In this day and age, you can’t deliver a second-class experience to Mac users and expect them to be happy. Additionally, it’s important to be able to find people on ooVoo that you want to talk to. Without a reliable search function, you’re left with the feeling that you can’t find people you want to talk to anyways, so why bother? ooVoo without advanced searching is like a land-line without a phone book or 411… useless unless you know there’s someone else out there with it to call.

I have identified 2 ideal target markets and one general market for ooVoo that I hope they explore – but I think I’ll leave those for the next post, because I’m busy researching it myself and want a little more data before I push that out there. Besides, this is getting a tad long for an initial review.

What I’ll say is that I think if you’re a PC user with a webcam and a headphone set, it’s worth a try. Download it and let me know what you think.

If you want to leave me a video voicemail, or see if I’m available to ooVoo, I’m GeekMommy on there as well. Look forward to hearing what others think.

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~ by Lucretia on February 22, 2008.

15 Responses to “My ooVoo Experience”

  1. Boo! No linux support

  2. Rather strange inadvertent paste there :(

  3. comooo!!! :)

    yeah, at least you can use a windows emulator with linux – GeekDaddy tried it and it works fine… but I don’t know about the recording functionality – I’ll have to ask him.

  4. I just wonder if this is easy enough for most people to use. How would you compare ease of use to uploading a video to youtube? If it’s harder than that it will stay a niche, when it gets easier it will breakthrough to mainstream.

  5. I’m afraid to say anything………. ;)

    Just kidding. Very good and thorough review. I’m going to read it again and look for my name in it. Hmm… I must have missed it during the first read.

  6. Good rundown there. I appreciate the fact that they are still just out of alpha, and I’m hoping the Mac client will catch up in functionality soon to the Windows version.

  7. Hi i don’t find where can I type number on Mac version to make Call phone?

  8. @Essalah –
    Sorry, but according to their website:
    http://www.oovoo.com//features/FreePhoneCalls.aspx
    This feature is currently only available for Windows users.

    You might wish to contact the company to let them know this is an important feature to mac users!
    http://www.oovoo.com//about/contact.shtml

  9. Thanks its kind

  10. I would love to see a chat room for oovoo users a place where people can come together with oovoo and meet each other and make new friends ooVoo looks great and I can’t wait to start using it as soon as someone adds me to there friends list Non of my friends seem to want to use it or even try it out so if anyone would like to add me go ahead my oovoo ID is jason65483 OOVOO WE NEED A CHAT ROOM

  11. i just got oovoo and have noone on my list so looking for new freinds i’m a 31 yr old mom of 1 disabled 9 yr old if interested add me my username is trevers_mom

  12. What about using it to talk to my husband overseas in Iraq. Internet very slow there and skype has a hard time staying connected. Video slows it down alot more that just calling.

  13. Another interesting program is VoxOx which you can check out at this web address: http://www.voxox.com/home.php

  14. […] تجربه استفاده من از ooVoo (انگلیسی) […]

  15. We’re a bunch of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with helpful info to work on. You’ve performed a formidable activity and our whole neighborhood shall be grateful to you.|

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