Viber

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Via Inc.
Viber-logo
Developer(s)Viber Media, Inc
Initial releaseDecember 3, 2013
Preview releaseBlackberry OS (beta)
3.1.1 (November 17, 2013; 3 months ago (2013-11-17))[1]
Windows Phone
3.1.0.0 (October 29, 2013; 3 months ago (2013-10-29))[2]
Operating systemWindows, Mac OS, Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Series 40, Symbian, Bada, Windows Phone, Linux
Available inEnglish, Hebrew, Arabic, Albanian, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian.[3]
TypeInstant Messaging Client & VoIP
LicenseProprietary
Websitewww.viber.com
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Via Inc.
Viber-logo
Developer(s)Viber Media, Inc
Initial releaseDecember 3, 2013
Preview releaseBlackberry OS (beta)
3.1.1 (November 17, 2013; 3 months ago (2013-11-17))[1]
Windows Phone
3.1.0.0 (October 29, 2013; 3 months ago (2013-10-29))[2]
Operating systemWindows, Mac OS, Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Series 40, Symbian, Bada, Windows Phone, Linux
Available inEnglish, Hebrew, Arabic, Albanian, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian.[3]
TypeInstant Messaging Client & VoIP
LicenseProprietary
Websitewww.viber.com

Viber is a proprietary cross-platform instant messaging voice-over-Internet Protocol application for smartphones developed by Viber Media. In addition to text messaging, users can exchange images, video and audio media messages. The client software is available for Mac OS, Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Series 40, Symbian, Bada, Windows Phone, and Microsoft Windows.[4] A Linux version is in development, with a public beta released.[5] Viber works on both 3G/4G and Wi-Fi networks. It first requires installation on a phone in order to work on a desktop operating system environment. Viber reached 200 million users as of May 7, 2013.[6]

It was founded and co-owned by four Israeli partners: Talmon Marco, Igor Megzinik, Sani Maroli and Ofer Smocha.[7] Talmon Marco serves as its CEO. On 14 February 2014, the startup was acquired by Rakuten for $900 million.[8]

History[edit]

Viber was initially launched for iPhone on December 2, 2010, in direct competition with Skype. A pre-release version for Android appeared in May 2011 but was restricted to 50,000 users; an unrestricted version was released on July 19, 2012. Viber for BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices was launched on May 8, 2012.[9] On reaching 90 million users on July 24, 2012, group messaging service and HD Voice engine were added to both Android and iPhone applications. Applications for Nokia's Series 40,[10] Symbian[11] and Samsung's Bada platform[12] were also announced on the same day.[13] Initially, the voice calling feature was only available for iPhone and Android applications, with a promise that voice would be added in upcoming versions for Bada, Symbian and Windows Phone applications, with no mention of either Series 40 or Blackberry OS. The limitation seems to lie in core of Blackberry OS and Series 40 which does not have easy support for VoIP apps.[14] As promised, on September 22, 2012, HD quality phone calls and hold group-messaging sessions were made available for Windows phone but only for Nokia users,[15] as part of exclusive partnership with Nokia.[16] Viber with voice was officially released for all Windows Phone 8 devices on April 2, 2013.[17] In August 2013, Viber for Linux was released as a public beta. Initially, only 64bit binaries were made available for download.[18] On February 13, 2014, Rakuten announced they had acquired Viber for $900 million.[19]

Features & Functionality[edit]

The actual functionality varies from platform to platform with iOS and Android being the first to receive new features. Viber includes text, picture and video messaging across all platforms, with voice calling available only to iPhone, Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone although HD voice is planned for Windows Phone 8.[20] The application's user interface includes tab bar on the bottom giving access to messages, recent calls, contact, the keypad and a button for accessing more options. Upon installation, it creates a user account using one's phone number as username. Viber synchronizes with the phone's address book, so users do not need to add contacts in a separate book. Since all users are registered with their phone number, the software returns all Viber users among one's contacts. The newest version of Viber (Version 2.3) has added smileys and other default images. Viber is also now available on Windows and Mac OSX. As of December 2013, Viber Officially launched Viber Out, a feature that allows all users the option to call mobile and landline numbers. Therefore Viber users can call people without the Viber app. Viber Out was originally released in November only to help Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines connect with their loved ones. To use the new feature, users have to visit the "More" tab and choose Viber Out. No update is needed for the feature.[21]

Languages and localization[edit]

Viber is currently available in 30 languages and locales: English, Hebrew, Arabic, Albanian, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian.[3]

Company[edit]

Viber Media is a Las Vegas and Cyprus-registered company[22][23] with its development centers in Belarus[24] and Israel.[25] The company was founded by Talmon Marco and Igor Megzinik, who are friends from the Israel Defense Forces.[26] The company is run from Israel, with much of its development outsourced to Belarus in order to lower labour-costs.[26]

Founded in 2010, the company is co-owned by its four Israeli founders: Talman Marco, Igor Megzinik, Sani Maroli and Ofer Smocha, who have each increased their investment by over 30 times on the startup's $900 million sale to Rakuten .[7]

Marco and Megzinik are also co-founders of the P2P media and file-sharing client iMesh.[27]

The company currently does not generate revenues, but announced it would start generating revenues in 2013 via a "sticker store". The company is funded by individual investors, who Marco has described as "friends and family".[28] As of May 2013, $20M had been invested in the company.[29]

Controversy[edit]

Concerns about the application's Israeli origin were raised by many bloggers in the Arab world, with belief that it may involve spying[30] and these concerns were later featured by AlArabia News website,[31] referring to Marco serving the Israeli army and having the development facilities in Israel. Later, in an interview with The Guardian Marco has confirmed that Viber was funded entirely by what Marco refers to as “friends and family”. “We never took a single dollar from the state of Israel, we are not even incorporated in Israel. We maintain a research and development center in Israel and that’s it.” [28]

Hacking[edit]

On July 24, 2013, Viber's support system was defaced by Syrian Electronic Army. According to Viber no user sensitive information was accessed.[32]

Banned in Pakistan[edit]

In October 2013 Pakistani authorities have announced to ban instant messaging and Internet telephony services including Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber in the province of Sindh for three months for security reasons, according to Sindh Government spokesman Sharjeel Memon.[33] They say that it gives the terrorists a medium to converse with each other. Sharjeel added that the decision may be taken back if the respective companies give them access to record the chats and voice calls.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Viber Media (July 24, 2012). "Viber". BlackBerry App World. Research In Motion (RIM). Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ Viber Media (September 6, 2012). "Viber". Windows Phone Marketplace. Microsoft. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Supported Languages". Viber. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Viber - Frequently asked questions". www.viber.com. Viber Media. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  5. ^ First Viber for Linux version available (Google+)
  6. ^ Viber Unveils Desktop App
  7. ^ a b אקזיט ענק: רקוטן היפנית רוכשת את וייבר תמורת כ-900 מיליון דולר Assaf Gilad 14.02.14, 08:27, Calcalist
  8. ^ http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/14/5411082/viber-messaging-app-acquired-by-rakuten
  9. ^ Viber for BlackBerry® and Windows Phone 7 Now Available
  10. ^ "Nokia Store: Download Viber and many other games, wallpaper, ringtones and mobile apps on your Nokia phone". Store.ovi.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  11. ^ "Nokia Store: Download Viber and many other games, wallpaper, ringtones and mobile apps on your Nokia phone". Store.ovi.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  12. ^ "Viber for Bada - Free messages on Samsung Bada". Viber.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  13. ^ Cooper, Daniel (September 11, 2012). "Viber comes to Symbian, S40 and Bada, adds HD voice calling and group messaging to Nokia Lumia handsets". Engadget. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  14. ^ Why Viber won’t have free phone calls on Blackberry App soon
  15. ^ "Viber for Nokia Lumia smartphones updated to v2.2, Adds HD Voice Calling". SymbianTweet. 2012-09-22. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  16. ^ Cooper, Daniel (2012-09-11). "Viber comes to Symbian, S40 and Bada, adds HD voice calling and group messaging to Nokia Lumia handsets". Engadget.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  17. ^ "WP8 Users Rejoice! Viber With Voice For Windows Phone 8 Has Been Released". Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  18. ^ "Popular mobile IM/VoIP app 'Viber' available for Linux". WebUpd8. 26 August 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  19. ^ "Japanese Internet Giant Rakuten Acquires Viber For $900M". TechCrunch. February 13, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Viber’s HD Voice Feature for Windows Phone 8 "Coming Very Soon"". Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  21. ^ Crook, Jordan. 10 December 2013. TechCrunch. "Viber Officially Launches Viber Out, Letting Users Call Mobile And Landline Numbers"
  22. ^ Viber sold for $900m by Hillel Koren, 14/02/2014, 14:55
  23. ^ Viber - DMCA Policy
  24. ^ Viber - Minsk
  25. ^ Top 10 iPhone Apps from Israel
  26. ^ a b The Skype Killers of Belarus By Brett Forrest August 23, 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek, Technology
  27. ^ Talmon Marco's profile on LinkedIn
  28. ^ a b "Viber founder: 'People should be concerned about privacy'". theguardian. 
  29. ^ Free-Calling App Viber Jumps To Desktop, Hits 200 Million Users
  30. ^ "Israeli Viber is spying on you". UltGate. 
  31. ^ "ما لا تعرفه عن برنامج المحادثات المجاني "فايبر". Al Arabia. 
  32. ^ "Viber Attacked By Syrian Electronic Army". 
  33. ^ Mehreen Zahra-Malik (7 October 2013). "Pakistan province orders halt to Skype over security concerns". reuters.com. Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 

External links[edit]