San Antonio.- With the holidays coming up, there’s no place like home. But these days, families are far flung and getting together, even for the holidays, is not always possible.
Technology is certainly helping to bridge that gap and helping people connect with loved ones who are far away. Skype, a free video conferencing tool has beenuseful for free one-on-one communications – but to get groups of people together, ooVoo manages to go a few steps further.
The Skype-like technology called ooVoo offers a different open communications approach to video chat that allows users to video chat with friends within a web-based environment even if they are not yet registered ooVoo users. The ooVoo technology is cloud based, whereas Skype is peer-to-peer based.
The company, which started up in 2007, focused intently on developing a service to deliver exceptional video quality and stability, has grown from nearly nine million users in 2010 to more than 60 million users today. Plenty of free extra features that help users virtually “estar en casa” to celebrate the holidays with loved ones across cities and borders also helped to increase its popularity.
The company does offer premium service or a charge – but the only distinction is that the premium service is ad-free.
Once futuristic, video chat is now commonplace. But thanks to ooVoo, up to a dozen people can get together at once via video for free using PC, Mac or mobile devices – no matter how far apart they may be.
Latinos are deferential to mobile technology, and ooVoo answers the call perfectly for Latino tastes with the free mobile applications that allow multiple talking heads on one phone screen too.
The technology continues to grow in popularity not just across the U.S. but throughout Latin America, especially in Mexico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Chile. In fact, more than 50 percent of new ooVoo registrations are for mobile devices. According to Nielsen, as of March 2012, mobile usage in the Hispanic market surpasses the general market with 57.3 percent.
The company says it is adding about 100,000 new users daily which is easy to understand since ooVoo is 100 percent free with reliable HD quality video.
Families are taking to ooVoo and using it regularly to stay in touch. According to the company, in recent rankings ooVoo was the number one site for households with five or more people. The video chat service is like a virtual living room where friends and families visually connect and catch up on each other’s lives during the holidays – especially important at this time of year when many can’t travel to be together.
From cooking up the holiday meals together (imagine being able to ask grandma what next for the recipe in real time) or just visiting, ooVoo becomes a very useful tool, not to mention all the money saved on long distance international phone calls.
Another terrific free feature is that up to a dozen can video chat live while an unlimited number of friends can also participate and watch later. ooVoo has an easy record and publish feature that allows users to instantly publish and share chats as a YouTube link and on Facebook.
ooVoo may be just what the doctor ordered to keep family and friends together for this year’s shindigs. To download or learn more about the app at www.oovoo.com
Angela Covo is a reporter for La Prensa de San Antonio. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.