Viber

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Viber
Viber-logo.png
Viber on Android.png
Viber call and contacts in an outdated version
Original author(s) Viber Media (Rakuten Inc.)
Initial release December 2, 2010
Stable release
  • Android:
    5.3.0.2339 (April 7, 2015; 28 days ago (2015-04-07)[1]) [±]
  • iOS:
    5.3.2 (April 17, 2015; 18 days ago (2015-04-17)[2]) [±]
  • BlackBerry OS:
    3.1.16 (November 19, 2013; 17 months ago (2013-11-19)[3]) [±]
  • Windows Phone:
    4.5.0.0 (March 31, 2015; 35 days ago (2015-03-31)[4]) [±]
Preview release
  • Blackberry OS (beta):
    3.1.1 (November 17, 2013; 17 months ago (2013-11-17)[3]) [±]
  • Windows Phone:
    4.1.1.0 (April 14, 2014; 12 months ago (2014-04-14)[4]) [±]
Operating system Windows, Mac OS, Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Series 40, Symbian, Bada, Windows Phone, Linux(Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE)
Available in 30 languages[5]
Type Instant messaging client & VoIP
License Proprietary
Website www.viber.com

Viber is an instant messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) app for smartphones developed by Viber Media. In addition to instant 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.[6] A 64-bit Linux version is available in both .deb (Debian & Ubuntu) and .rpm (Fedora & openSUSE) package formats. [7] 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.[8] Viber has over 100 million monthly active users from its 280 million global registered users.[9]

History[edit]

Viber was founded by four Israeli partners: Talmon Marco, Igor Megzinik, Sani Maroli and Ofer Smocha, with Talmon Marco as its CEO.[10] 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.[11] 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,[12] Symbian[13] and Samsung's Bada platform[14] were also announced on the same day.[15]

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 the core of Blackberry OS and Series 40 which does not have easy support for VoIP apps.[16]

On September 22, 2012, HD quality phone calls and hold group-messaging sessions were made available for Windows Phone but only for Nokia users,[17] as part of exclusive partnership with Nokia.[18] Viber with voice was officially released for all Windows Phone 8 devices on April 2, 2013.[19]

On July 24, 2013, Viber's support system was defaced by Syrian Electronic Army. According to Viber, no sensitive user information was accessed.[20]

In August 2013, Viber for Linux was released as a public beta[21] and in August 2014 a final version.[22] Initially, only 64-bit binaries were made available for download.

On February 13, 2014, Rakuten announced they had acquired Viber for $900 million.[23] The sale of Viber earned Israel's Shabtai family (Benny, his brother Gilad, and Gilad's son Ofer) some $500 million from their 55.2% stake in the company.[24][25]

Reception[edit]

On November 4, 2014, Viber scored 1 out of 7 points on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's secure messaging scorecard. It received a point for having communications encrypted in transit. It lost points because communications are not encrypted with a key the provider doesn't have access to, users can't verify contacts' identities, past messages are not secure if the encryption keys are stolen, the code is not open to independent review, the security design is not properly documented, and there has not been a recent independent code audit.[26]

Features[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.[27] 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 OS X.[when?]

As of December 2013, Viber officially launched Viber Out, a feature that provides users the option to call mobile and landline numbers; thus Viber users can call people not using a 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.[28]

Company[edit]

Viber Media is a Las Vegas and Cyprus-registered company[29][30] with its development centers in Belarus[31] and Israel.[32] The company was founded by Talmon Marco and Igor Megzinik, who are friends from the Israel Defense Forces.[33] The company is run from Israel, with much of its development outsourced to Belarus in order to lower labor-costs.[33]

Founded in 2010, the company is co-owned by its four Israeli founders: Talmon 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.[10]

Marco and Megzinik are also co-founders of the P2P media and file-sharing client iMesh.[34]

The company originally didn't 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".[35] As of May 2013, $20M had been invested in the company.[36]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Viber Media S.à r.l. (2014-12-18). "Viber - Android Apps on Google Play". Google Play. Google. Retrieved 2015-04-13. 
  2. ^ Viber Media, Inc (2015-01-04). "Viber On the App Store on iTunes". App Store. Apple. Retrieved 2015-04-13. 
  3. ^ a b Viber Media (2013-11-19). "BlackBerry World - Viber". BlackBerry App World. Research In Motion (RIM). Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  4. ^ a b Viber Media (2015-03-31). "Viber". Windows Phone Marketplace. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  5. ^ "Supported Languages". Viber. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Viber - Frequently asked questions". www.viber.com. Viber Media. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ Viber for Linux
  8. ^ Viber Unveils Desktop App
  9. ^ After Rakuten acquisition, Viber reveals it has 100 million active users. February 14, 2014. Steven Millward.
  10. ^ a b אקזיט ענק: רקוטן היפנית רוכשת את וייבר תמורת כ-900 מיליון דולר Assaf Gilad 14.02.14, 08:27, Calcalist
  11. ^ Viber for BlackBerry® and Windows Phone 7 Now Available
  12. ^ "Nokia Store: Download Viber and many other games, wallpaper, ringtones and mobile apps on your Nokia phone". Store.ovi.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  13. ^ "Nokia Store: Download Viber and many other games, wallpaper, ringtones and mobile apps on your Nokia phone". Store.ovi.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  14. ^ "Viber for Bada - Free messages on Samsung Bada". Viber.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ Why Viber won’t have free phone calls on Blackberry App soon
  17. ^ "Viber for Nokia Lumia smartphones updated to v2.2, Adds HD Voice Calling". SymbianTweet. 2012-09-22. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ "WP8 Users Rejoice! Viber With Voice For Windows Phone 8 Has Been Released". Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  20. ^ Crook, Jordan. "Viber Attacked By Syrian Electronic Army". TechCrunch. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  21. ^ "Popular mobile IM/VoIP app 'Viber' available for Linux". WebUpd8. 26 August 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "Viber 4.2 Finally Released For Linux". phoronix. 
  23. ^ "Japanese Internet Giant Rakuten Acquires Viber For $900M". TechCrunch. February 13, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  24. ^ "בני שבתאי את הונו מעבודה בקזינו בסווזילנדהעצום - כל הדרךכוכב שבתאי: כך בנה איש העסקים" [The Star of Shabtai: This is How the Businessman Benny Shabtai Has Amassed His Huge Fortune]. Forbes (in Hebrew). 6 June 2014. 
  25. ^ "Most of Viber's owners are based abroad including the Shabtais with a 55.2% stake". Globes. 16 February 2014. 
  26. ^ "Secure Messaging Scorecard. Which apps and tools actually keep your messages safe?". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 2014-11-04. 
  27. ^ "Viber's HD Voice Feature for Windows Phone 8 "Coming Very Soon"". Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  28. ^ Crook, Jordan. 10 December 2013. TechCrunch. "Viber Officially Launches Viber Out, Letting Users Call Mobile And Landline Numbers"
  29. ^ Viber sold for $900m by Hillel Koren, 14/02/2014, 14:55
  30. ^ Viber - DMCA Policy
  31. ^ Viber - Minsk
  32. ^ Top 10 iPhone Apps from Israel
  33. ^ a b The Skype Killers of Belarus By Brett Forrest August 23, 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek, Technology
  34. ^ Talmon Marco's profile on LinkedIn
  35. ^ "Viber founder: 'People should be concerned about privacy'". theguardian. 
  36. ^ Free-Calling App Viber Jumps To Desktop, Hits 200 Million Users

External links[edit]