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A Review of ooVoo’s Video Chat App for the iPad

Skype and Google’s Video Chat changed the nature of long distance relationships everywhere.You no longer needed to be in the same room as your boyfriend, daughter, or long lost cousin to have a face-to-face conversation with him/her. All you needed was a computer, a camera (which conveniently could be the same machine) and an internet connection to look into the eyes of someone you care about and say “Hey.”

Well thanks to ooVoo, you can add “my entire high school baseball team” to the list of people you can do that with. Want to watch the NBA Playoffs with your college buddies but they live in eight different cities? Maybe you need some opinions on the dress you’re trying on before you buy it. Or maybe you’re just looking to catch up with the people you love.

The company’s new app for Facebook, iPhone, Android, and iPad allows 12-way face-to-face-to-face (you get the picture) conversations. In an artistic nod, the name ooVoo is meant to look like two sets of eyes looking at each other.

First the good parts of the upgrade. First, it’s still free! With no upgrade cost or initial purchase base price, this app is completely free to users. Additionally, the design of the new version of the app is better and easier to navigate, and logging in with Facebook also makes the app more usable. It now has the functionality built in to automatically find other friends that have the ooVoo Video Chat app. It also lets users send direct invitations to friends for a call without requiring the friends to deal with the pesky task of downloading the app themselves. Connection time on calls has also sped up considerably from the last version.

Now, the less good parts. The biggest drawback about the iPad version of the app is that while the Facebook platform allows for a true 12-way view of all the people on the call, the iPad has the drawback that it only lets you see four people at a time. The iPad version also doesn’t have another fun functionality found on the new Desktop version: it is very easy to share ooVoo chats through other social networking sites, including YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. But the ooVoo team says that is in the works for the iPad too.

Some users report that sound occasionally cuts out, and despite the “HD” label, the video quality is sometimes subpar. But not everyone has the same problems – some users report top notch video quality. Bad video quality is more likely attributable to your internet connection.

OoVoo currently has more than forty-six million users, more than twice as many as it had a year ago. Most of these people – 65% – are younger than 25 years old, and are using the app to hang out with friends, do homework together, watch television shows. The typical ooVoo user participates in about 200 minutes of online video chat in a given session, suggesting that it is the optimal tool for just kicking back together, only virtually.

So should you use ooVoo? Well the great part about it, as mentioned above, is that it’s free. I say download it, give it a whirl, see if it’s your cup of tea. If it is, great! If not, oh well, no skin off your back!

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