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News: Skype for Windows 5.1 Out of Beta, Group Video Chat Now Costs

ooVoo has long, in my opinion, been the king of group video chat for anyone who doesn’t have the advantage of having an expensive corporate video telepresence setup.

But with Skype’s latest beta, they’re moving from great video plus group text chat, to great GROUP video calling plus text chat.  It’s really exciting to see this becoming more accessible to the average Joe.

True, it costs a little now, but for an ad hoc $5 day pass or $9/month unlimited (with discounts for bulk buying), it’s not a bad deal.  And of course, with competition comes even better deals so maybe we can look forward to a price war between Skype and ooVoo.  BTW: One on one video chat is still free, it’s just the group video calling that will cost money, much like ooVoo.

I wonder how Skype’s recent acquisition of Qik will play into this all.

[Source Engadget]

January 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm Posted by | Instant Messaging, News, Skype, Video Chat/Webcam | Leave a Comment

News: Skype Video Calling for iPhone/iOS is Official!

Skype 3.0 just hit iTunes and it’s boasting video calls to Skype users on Windows, Mac and Linux (and assuming other iPhone users as well with the 3.0 software).  Video calls supposedly work over wifi AND 3G, giving it an edge over Facetime.

No official word on Android or other platform support, but there should be more announcements at CES in Las Vegas next week.  Exciting stuff!

skype for iphone - video calling

Update: Added video released after initial article was posted:

[Source: iTunes via Engadget]

December 30, 2010 at 12:30 am Posted by | Cellphone, iPhone, News, Skype, Video Chat/Webcam | Leave a Comment

News: Yahoo IM for Android Updated, Adds VoIP Calling

A while ago, Yahoo IM for Android was updated just for the MyTouch 4G, version 1.1 I believe, to include support for video calling using the MyTouch4G’s front-facing camera.  Copies of the ripped app were all over the place, but it was a little tricky to get set up.  Now with versions 1.2 and 1.3 officially on the Android App Market, you’re now able to get the officially updated version of Yahoo Messenger and get the new Voice and Video plugin (installed within the app, even though it does appear in the Android Market).  For now, only the MyTouch 4G and EVO 4G are supported, but hopefully they’ll add more support for other devices soon.  Even without a front-facing camera, you could still take advantage of the voice calling.

yahoo im for android

[Source Droid Life via AndroidGuys]

December 28, 2010 at 12:00 pm Posted by | Android, Cellphone, Instant Messaging, News, Video Chat/Webcam, Voice Over IP (VoIP), Yahoo Messenger | Leave a Comment

News: Lifehacker’s 5 Best Mobile IM Apps

Hmm.. not sure I’d call this the ‘best’ mobile instant messenger apps, but it’s what Lifehacker decided to publish.  There are some good ones on this list, though, that I’ll be covering in more detail later.

For now, here’s the short list.  Read more details over at Lifehacker at the source link below.


Five Best Mobile Instant Messaging Applications - Beejive

Blackberry Messenger

Five Best Mobile Instant Messaging Applications - Blackberry Messenger

Google Talk

Five Best Mobile Instant Messaging Applications - Google Talk


Five Best Mobile Instant Messaging Applications - Meebo


Five Best Mobile Instant Messaging Applications - Trillian

[Source Lifehacker]

December 27, 2010 at 9:00 am Posted by | Android, AOL Instant Mesenger/AIM, Beejive, Blackberry, Cellphone, Device to Device, Facebook, Google Talk/GTalk, Instant Messaging, Instant Messaging (Multi-IM), iPhone, Jabber, Meebo, MSN Messenger, MySpace, News, Social Networks, Yahoo Messenger | Leave a Comment

News: LiveProfile Messenger Beta for Android Released

One of the things Blackberry pioneered was a new, more functional IM specifically for mobile devices. Blackberry Messenger was way more suited for phones than traditional IM apps. Because of this and the fact that traditional IMs still don’t do push notifications very well, there’s a great niche for apps like LiveProfile, especially when they can work across multiple platforms.

LiveProfile (one word) is current in beta for Android, but they’re working hard on Blackberry and iPhone/iPod versions as well.

With many competitors such as Kik, WhatApp and PingChat already around, some people ask “why do we need another device-to-device IM solution?” but as the saying goes, there’s always room at the top.  The trick is getting all your friends to commit to using the same app, but if you can do that.. this looks like a great D2D option.

BTW.. it can also be used as a replacement for your default text app!


[Sources LiveProfile via xda]

December 26, 2010 at 9:00 pm Posted by | Android, Cellphone, Device to Device, Instant Messaging, iPhone, News | Leave a Comment

News: IM Buddy for Windows Phone 7 (Yahoo client)

Want to chat on Yahoo IM but can’t wait for the official Yahoo chat client?  Give IM Buddy a try.  It’s the first Yahoo Messenger compatible client for Windows Phone 7 to appear on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

IM Buddy IM Buddy Config ScreenIM Buddy Online Screen

[Source WMPowerUser.com]

December 26, 2010 at 8:00 pm Posted by | Cellphone, Instant Messaging, News, Windows Phone 7, Yahoo Messenger | Leave a Comment

News: Skype Working On Video Calling for Mobile (iPhone to start)

Skype is not only known for being a forerunner in VoIP calls, but many professionals rely on it for it’s fantastic video chat capabilities.  Well, looks like they’re joining ooVoo, Yahoo Messenger, Fring, Tango, Qik, Facetime and all the others in the mobile device webcam chat arena!  This is big new!

For now, the only confirmation has been that they’re working on video calling for iPhone, but they do have an Android client as well, so we can only speculate that an Android one will be hot on the heels of the iPhone.  It helps that the iPhone 4 has a front-facing camera and is the “new hotness” in the Apple phone world.  As we see more phones with front-facing cameras, we should see a bigger push for these kind of mobile video chat apps.

Can’t wait to hear the official word from CES next month!

[Sources: Engadget, TiPd]

December 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm Posted by | Cellphone, iPhone, News, Skype, Video Chat/Webcam | Leave a Comment

News: Skype Video Calling for Mobile in the Works

Skype, that wonderful example of VoIP and group IM done right has it’s sights set on bringing video calling to mobile platforms.  All of them.  So far, they’ve made incremental improvements to their mobile clients, but they’re still not up to par with their desktop apps.  Still, slow and steady wins the race and hopefully sometime soon we’ll have yet another option in mobile video calling.

Android Guys quotes Skype from a May press release:

Skype envisions a world where video plays a larger role in the way we communicate.  It’s on computers, televisions, and it will eventually be coming to mobile devices too. We’re betting big on video, and we intend to set the bar on mobile video calling, and it’s something we’re going to do this year.   We will be bringing a direct to consumer app to the Android marketplace later this year. This application will be available for all consumers globally to download regardless of carriers.

– Brianna Reynaud, Skype PR

[Source Android Guys]

December 19, 2010 at 9:00 pm Posted by | Cellphone, News, Skype, Video Chat/Webcam | Leave a Comment

Guide: Yahoo Messenger (desktop)

Yahoo Messenger is probably my favorite IM service to use just because of it’s flexibility, features and the fact that it’s not a completely bloated mess yet.  It has some features that other IM’s don’t have, but unfortunately they’re not all supported outside of the main desktop Yahoo Messenger app. Hopefully support for things like alias profiles will become more widely used among Yahoo apps and other IM services.

Yahoo Messenger (desktop app version) is available for Windows and Mac. I assume the Mac features are similar to the Windows app features.  There’s also a web version that has many of the same features, but doesn’t include direct support for alias profiles and may not support everything listed below.

The version used for this writeup is Yahoo Messenger for Windows.

Here is a rundown of what you can do with Yahoo Messenger (desktop version).

Aliases/Alternate Profiles

This feature appears to be unique to Yahoo and it has so much potential that I’m a little surprised that other IM services don’t offer it.  It may just be easier to create a completely separate account rather than mess with aliases, but if you don’t have someone watching over your shoulder, aliases are kind of convenient.

What an ‘alias’ allows you to do is log into your main account, but allow people to IM you using a completely different name.  When you respond, the return IM comes from the alias you received the message on, NOT your main account.  You have to be very careful that you don’t send a message from the wrong alias, so this can be as dangerous as it is useful. Be careful.

Aliases have a profile page, just like your main account.  But they can’t, typically, send or receive emails.  There’s a new feature that allows one alias to receive emails, but I set it up and now I can’t seem to find a way to deactivate it so I can show you what it looks like.  In general, aliases can only send/receive IMs and have a profile page, but otherwise have none of the features of your main account.

To set up an alias, log into your Yahoo account and go to the Yahoo alias/identiy page at https://edit.yahoo.com/identity/manage. It should make you log in again, but from there you’ll see a page like this:

Yahoo Alias Configuration Screenshot

Yahoo Alias Configuration

It appears that you can only have 6 aliases, but that should be plenty.

Audio/Video Chat

In addition to standard text chat, Yahoo IM offers both audio-only and audio/video chat.  This is great for spicing up the cybersex a bit and getting to know someone better before actually meeting them in person.  You can only tell so much from text and if you rely on emails and IMs alone, you could be in for a surprise when you finally go to meet your cyber lover.

The first thing you probably want to do, if you didn’t do it during install, is use Yahoo’s voice and video setup wizard.  It can be found in the Help menu under “Set up Video and Voice”:

Yahoo Desktop Video Voice Setup

Help menu showing Video and Voice Setup wizard option

Yahoo’s tutorials and online help are pretty good about detailing the setup. You may need to refer to your webcam’s specific help site or manual if you have issues with the webcam, but most cams are pretty user friendly these days.

The two easiest ways to initiate a voice chat are either using the buttons on your current chat with someone or right clicking on their username and selecting a chat option.

Yahoo Desktop Audio Voice Buttons

If you're already in chat, audio and voice chat options should appear as buttons

Yahoo Desktop Video Voice Right Click

Right click menu for contacts showing various contact methods

You can also select a contact and pick a chat option from the Action menu:

Yahoo Desktop Action Menu

Yahoo's action menu allows many ways to interact with the selected contact

Or by selecting an option from the info window that pops up when you mouse over a contact:

Yahoo Desktop Contact Mouseover box

You can initiate audio or webcam chat or voice calls from the info box that pops up when you mouse over a contact

Webcam options allow you to control who gets to see your webcam or whether you publicly broadcast that your webcam is active.  You may want to do a little cam2cam withsomeone without letting everyone else know that your cam is active.

Yahoo Desktop Webcam Options

Yahoo Desktop Webcam Options

Yahoo Desktop Webcam Display

Yahoo Messenger webcam display lets you control whether you're broadcasting or not.. also tells you how many people are watching you. The WEBCAM menu has an option to show you who is watching as well.

Stealth and Invisibility

The ability to be logged in and hidden can be very valuable.  Sometimes people are just a little too clingy or chatty and you just want to log in for a minute to check something or send a quick message and don’t want to get bogged down in a length conversation or get messages later saying “why didn’t you talk to me when you were on earlier?”  Invisible modes in IM apps can help avoid a lot of drama.  And, of course, they’re great for avoiding that person who just won’t leave you alone.

Yahoo, I believe, is the only one that will let you have per-contact stealth settings.  This means you can appear online to everyone EXCEPT certain people.. or vice versa, appear offline except for a few select people.

NOTE: If you appear offline to someone, their name should appear in italics but if you have any doubts, right click on the contact and look under the Stealth menu.

You can access stealth mode in a couple different ways:

Yahoo Desktop Stealth Login

When you log in, you can set yourself as invisible immediately

Yahoo Desktop Stealth Login 2

During login, you should see (Invisible to Everyone) if you selected it.. if you don't and you meant to, click cancel before someone sees you!

Yahoo Desktop Stealth Settings

Right click on a contact and select Stealth Settings

Yahoo Desktop Stealth Status

Click on your name and select your 'status', setting it to Invisible to Everyone

Yahoo Desktop Stealth Status 2

You can also set your status through the Messenger menu

Logging and Message Archiving

When it comes to evidence of your sneaking, message archives can probably be the most damning.  You might want to serious consider how much you want to have logged and when you want it purged.

Yahoo Desktop Logging

Yahoo's archive and logging options

Telephone Service/Voice over IP (VoIP)

VoIP is a way of using telephone service over the Internet. This allows you to call traditional landline and cell phone numbers with your computer and an Internet connection.  For matters of safety and keeping your activities secret, this can be very valuable.  For most voice chat, I would just use the voice chat options, but if that’s not an option for whoever you’re contacting and if it’s safe for them to use their everyday phone (or even another VoIP phone number).  Having a throwaway phone number you can use is a great way not to give out your real phone number.  The downside is that it usually costs a little bit of money. Pennies per minute these days, but still costs money that would need to be billed somewhere that may show up on a bank or credit card statement.  That could be additional evidence that you’d have to explain.  Sticking to free IM to IM voice and webcam chat is the best way to go.

Precautions and Tips

  • If you use aliases, always make sure you’re sending from the correct name and don’t expose your main account name (which can be emailed or possibly used to look you up on sites like Facebook, Classmates, etc)
  • Check your stealth settings when you log in and look for usernames in italics indicating that you are invisible to that person
  • Check your message logging options and make sure to clear message archives on anything incriminating
  • Check your webcam options and make sure you don’t have it set to display a message when you’re broadcasting.  Assuming you don’t want everyone on your contact list from seeing “View My Webcam” next to your name.  Maybe you do 🙂  At any rate, you can configure who gets to see your cam automatically and who needs permission.
  • If you get a telephone number and use the Voice Over IP option, make sure you have it billed somewhere discrete.  Maybe use a disposable credit card/gift card you can buy using cash at the local grocery store.

Additional information from source

For more information, check out the following links:

Yahoo Messenger Homepage

Yahoo Messenger Tutorials

Yahoo Telephone Service via jajah.com

December 19, 2010 at 10:03 am Posted by | Guides, Instant Messaging, Yahoo Messenger | Leave a Comment

News: Skype video chat may be coming to Facebook

Skype, everyone’s favorite VOIP and video chat IM app may be making moves to embed it’s services into Facebook, potentially allowing Facebook users to voice and video chat with each other from within a Facebook page.  This means that Facebook could become a player in the sexy video chat arena as people go from casually chatting and messaging to getting a little real face to face for some sexy time!

Nothing is certain yet, but it appears that they’re doing preliminary testing for embedded video chat.

Tal Ater on Green Any Site via TechnoBuffalo

(image courtesy source)

November 30, 2010 at 11:12 pm Posted by | Facebook, Instant Messaging, News, Skype, Social Networks, Video Chat/Webcam | Leave a Comment