Viber, the popular free messaging and voice calling app, has received a massive update and has released desktop clients for both Windows and OS X. Both iOS and Android apps now allow you to compose and send video messages. An in-app banner (which can be disabled in the app’s settings if it bothers you) notifies you when you receive a new message or call on the iOS app. The desktop apps themselves are pretty good as well, and come with the added feature of video calls (currently in beta). Calls can easily be transferred between your desktop and mobile phone. Other significant updates to the iOS and Android app include Whatsapp-like online status and last seen time visibility (that can be enabled or disabled), the ability to automatically download received images and videos, adding captions to videos and photos before sending them, a bunch of new stickers, and improved interface.
To use Viber on your desktop, you must first have it installed on your phone. To set up Viber on your PC, enter your phone number (with the country code), and you will receive an activation code in the Viber app, which you have to enter in the desktop app to verify it.
Once you’re connected, Viber will load your contacts. You can select any one of them to send them a message, or start an audio or video call. The ‘History’ tab display messages sent and received on both your phone and desktop. However, it does not support audio clips, stickers or the newly introduced video messages yet. You will therefore only be able to view images or text messages that have been exchanged.
You can manage your audio and video input & output devices from the app’s settings and control both the input and output volume.
Viber runs in the taskbar and gives you on-screen notifications when you receive an incoming call. These notifications can be managed from the app’s settings as well. You can toggle on-screen notifications, sounds for calls and messages, and choose your preferred position for the notification pop-up.
You can even transfer a call from Viber on your desktop to your phone, or vice versa. To do this from desktop, simply click the phone icon next to the end call button.
The app gives you notifications for both incoming calls, with the option to accept or decline them, and for any new messages.
To transfer a call from your phone to your desktop, tap the newly added transfer call button, and you will receive a notification on your desktop screen for the incoming transferred call. To send a video message from your phone, follow the same process that you normally do for an image or a voice recording. There seems to be no time limit on how long your video can be, and the time needed to send the message depends on its length.
The Android app has been updated with the Holo UI that makes it look much better and feel considerably smoother than the previous version. The user experience also feels more simplified compared to the previous version, with all the useful features accessible from the right areas.
The in-app banners in the iOS app notify you when you receive a new message. In addition, when you visit a particular contact’s card in the app, you can see if they are online or not.
The online or last seen status information is also displayed under the contact name in the conversation window during text conversations. This can be toggled from the app’s settings, but you can’t change this setting more than once every 24 hours. You can also set the app to download photos or videos automatically when on 3G. If disabled, they will be downloaded automatically only while on Wi-Fi.
All in all, the updates are great and the desktop apps will be welcomed by existing users of the service who want to take calls and send messages from their PCs. It is odd that the desktop apps don’t support video messages despite supporting video chat, but we can expect missing support for audio and video messages as well as stickers on desktop, and video chat on mobile in future releases.
Haroon Q. Raja contributed to this post