If I didn’t work from home, I would use a web service like ooVoo to make video calls to my kids at home. With ooVoo, dads and moms can make audio or video calls from a computer. ooVoo is a VoIP service like Skype. What’s different about ooVoo is that people can join a call without ooVoo software. In addition, up to six family members or friends can video chat at once (Skype only provides one-to-one video).
A cool ooVoo feature I like is the video special effects (via WebcamMax). It’s not very useful, but fun to play with:
With ooVoo, you can record your video calls with your kids and save them for a video scrapbook. Another nice feature of ooVoo is the ability to embed a video chat room in a blog. Personally, that would drive me crazy if strangers kept trying to call me 24×7, but I could see value in a video chat room for a business or a private blog for friends and family.
Like Skype, ooVoo has both free features and premium features (pay per use or pay per month plans). In addition, ooVoo displays an ad banner at the bottom of your screen. You have to pay extra to get rid of the ads.
ooVoo Free Features
- Video calls, 2-way (ooVoo to ooVoo)
- Audio calls, 2-way (ooVoo to ooVoo)
- Record and send video messages to friends or to email address
- Video and audio call with friends who don’t have ooVoo
- Basic video effects for video calls
- Text chat and text chat history (ooVoo to ooVoo)
- Embed a video chat room in a website
- Send files up to 5MB
ooVoo Premium Video Features
- Video (and audio) calls – up to 6 participants
- High Resolution Video – 480p video quality
- Record and save video calls
- Record and save audio conferencing calls
- Store and post recorded video calls
- Desktop Sharing
- Send files, up to 25 MB
While ooVoo edges out Skype in video features, Skype still has advantages in several areas. First, Skype has about 443 million users versus about 7.5 million users for ooVoo. Plus you can use Skype on your cell phone and make international calls (ooVoo is limited to US, Canada, and UK). In addition, Skype supports voice conferencing for over 25 people (don’t confuse this with video conferencing like I did initially).