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Java-based ooVoo’s interface is nothing to write home about.
Instant messaging used to be the most convenient way to have a conversation online. Then along came audio chatting to free us from all that typing. Today video chatting is the best way to feel directly connected to others over the Internet—it’s the next best thing to being there. And while iChat can pull off amazing video chats, it has two main drawbacks: It only supports video chats with up to four people, and it’s Mac only.
Got friends with webcams? ooVoo lets you chat with them whether they’re using Macs or PCs.
ooVoo is a spectacular new multiplatform videoconferencing system that lets you easily set up video chats with friends, even if they’re inexplicably using that other popular computer operating system. The app is available for Windows and Mac OS X, and the Windows version has a few extra features over ooVoo for Mac, including recording, video effects, and regular phone calls. That said, ooVoo is one of the best videoconferencing solutions available for Mac users—it lets you conduct a six-person videoconference, and if a contact isn’t online, you can record a video message, and ooVoo will deliver it the next time your friend signs in.
Besides videoconferencing, ooVoo offers text chatting and file transfers. Compared to iChat, however, the text chatting isn’t the greatest: it lacks emoticons, and the user interface isn’t the as polished as we’d like. But it does the job for easy, free video chats.
ooVoo is written in Java, so its interface doesn’t resemble a typical Mac program. The app windows are quite dark and not very pretty. We even noticed this in the preferences, where it’s hard to find what you’re looking for because the window has so many tabs.
ooVoo beats iChat for its multiplatform videoconferencing with up to six people. But the app has a few flaws in its interface design and text-chatting function. Then again, it’s free, so there’s no harm in trying it out.