Viber

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Viber
Viber logo 2018.svg
Original author(s)Talmon Marco, Igor Magazinnik
Developer(s)Rakuten Viber (part of Rakuten Inc.)
Initial releaseDecember 2, 2010; 8 years ago (2010-12-02)
Stable release(s) [±]
  • Android:
    10.2.0.3 (March 3, 2019; 17 days ago (2019-03-03)[1]) [±]
  • iOS:
    10.0.0 (February 3, 2019; 45 days ago (2019-02-03)[2]) [±]
  • Windows:
    10.1.0.44 (February 14, 2019; 34 days ago (2019-02-14)[3]) [±]
  • Windows 10 Mobile:
    6.6.1 (April 26, 2018; 10 months ago (2018-04-26)[4]) [±]
  • BlackBerry 10 OS:
    4.3.0.728 (April 23, 2014; 4 years ago (2014-04-23)[5]) [±]
Preview release(s) [±]
Written inC/C++/Python (desktop, using SIP and Qt frameworks), Objective-C (iOS), Java (Android)
Operating systemCross-platform
TypeInstant messaging client, VoIP
LicenseProprietary
Websitewww.viber.com

Viber is a cross-platform voice over IP (VoIP) and instant messaging (IM) software application operated by Japanese multinational company Rakuten, provided as freeware for the Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux platforms. Users are registered and identified through a cellular telephone number, although the service is accessible on desktop platforms without needing mobile connectivity.[6] In addition to instant messaging it allows users to exchange media such as images and videorecords, and also provides a paid international landline and mobile calling service called Viber Out.[7] As of 2018, there are over a billion registered users on the network.[8][9]

The software was originally developed in 2010 by Israel-based Viber Media, which was bought by Rakuten in 2014. Since 2017 its corporate name has been Rakuten Viber. It is currently based in Luxembourg.[10] Viber has offices in San Francisco, Minsk, Sofia, Moscow, Paris, Singapore and Manila.

Company history[edit]

Former Viber logo from 2012 until July 2017
Viber logo 2017-2018

Founding[edit]

Viber Media might have been founded in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2010 by Talmon Marco[11] and Igor Magazinnik, who are friends from the Israel Defense Forces where they were chief information officers.[12] Marco and Magazinnik are also co-founders of the P2P media and file-sharing client iMesh.[13] The company was run from Israel, with much of its development outsourced to Belarus in order to lower labor-costs.[12] It was registered in Cyprus. Sani Maroli and Ofer Smocha soon joined the company as well.[14][15][16][17][18][19] Marco commented that Viber allows instant calling and synchronization with contacts because the ID is the user's cell number, unlike Skype which is modeled after a "buddy list" requiring registration and a password.[20]

Monetisation[edit]

In its first two years of availability, Viber did not generate revenues. It began doing so in 2013, via user payments for Viber Out voice calling and the Viber graphical messaging "sticker store". The company was originally funded by individual investors, described by Marco as "friends and family".[21] They invested $20 million in the company, which had 120 employees as of May 2013.[22]

On July 24, 2013, Viber's support system was defaced by the Syrian Electronic Army. According to Viber, no sensitive user information was accessed.[23]

Acquisition[edit]

On February 13, 2014, Rakuten announced they had acquired Viber Media for $900 million.[24] The sale of Viber earned the Shabtai family (Benny, his brother Gilad, and Gilad's son Ofer) some $500 million from their 55.2% stake in the company.[25][26] At that sale price, the founders each realized over 30 times return on their investments.[15]

Djamel Agaoua became Viber Media CEO in February 2017, replacing co-founder Marco who left in 2015.[27]

In July 2017 the corporate name of Viber Media was changed to Rakuten Viber and a new wordmark logo was introduced.[28] Its legal name remains Viber Media, S.à r.l. based in Luxembourg.

Viber has been the official "communication channel" of F.C. Barcelona since Rakuten partnered with the football club in 2017.[29][30]

Market share[edit]

As of December 2016, Viber had 800 million registered users.[31] According to Statista, there are 260 million monthly active users as of January 2019.[32] The Viber messenger is mainly popular in Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and some Asian markets.[33]

India was the largest market for Viber as of December 2014 with 33 million registered users, the fifth most popular instant messenger in the country. At the same time there were 30 million users in the United States, 28 million in Russia and 18 million in Brazil.[34] In 2018 Viber reached 100 million users in Russia.[35] Viber is particularly popular in Eastern Europe, being the most downloaded messaging app on Android in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine as of 2016. It is also popular in Iraq, Libya and Sri Lanka.[36] As of 2018, Viber has over 70 percent penetration rate in the CIS and CEE regions, but only 15 percent in North America.[37]

Russian market[edit]

Viber is one of the more popular messenger applications in the top 5 social apps. [38] [39] In January 2016, Viber surpassed WhatsApp in Russia, with about 50 million users.[40] Viber was growing especially rapidly in urban areas like Moscow and St. Petersburg. In April 2016 the usage of Viber in Russia were twice higher than in 2015, it reached 66 million users.[41] By 2018, Viber had reached 100 million users in Russia. [42] Another report from 2017 shows that Russian IM users prefer to use Viber or WhatsApp over other services.[43] In Russia Viber plans to use the method of payment for shopping for goods and services.

Nikolay Nikiforov of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media has declined to comment on the effect that law № 241-FZ (which has restricted use of some other encrypted chats such as Telegram) would have on Viber. [44] [45]

Application[edit]

Platforms[edit]

Viber 1.0 on iPhone

Viber was initially launched for iPhone on December 2, 2010, in direct competition with Skype. It was launched on the Android platform on July 19, 2012, followed by BlackBerry and Windows Phone on May 8, 2012,[46] and Nokia's Series 40, Symbian and Samsung's Bada platform on July 24, 2012, by which time the application had 90 million users.[47][48][49]

In May 2013 with Viber 3.0, a desktop version for Windows and macOS was released.[50] In August 2013, Viber for Linux was released as a public beta[51] and in August 2014 a final version.[52] In June 2016 a UWP-based desktop application for Windows 10 was released in the Windows Store.[53] The desktop versions are tied with a user's registered Viber mobile number, but can operate independently afterwards.[54] In 2015, a version for the iPad tablet and Apple Watch smartwatch was released.[55][56]

Features[edit]

Viber was originally launched as a VoIP application for voice calling. On March 31, 2011, Viber 2.0 was released which added instant messaging (IM) capabilities.[57] In July 2012 group messaging and HD Voice engine were added to both Android and iOS applications.[58]

In December 2012 Viber added 'stickers' to the application. In October 2013, Viber 4.0 was announced featuring a sticker 'market' where Viber would be selling stickers as a source of revenue.[59] In addition, version 4.0 introduced push-to-talk capabilities, and Viber Out, a feature that provides users the option to call mobile and landline numbers via VoIP without the need for the application.[60] Viber Out became temporarily free in the Philippines to help Typhoon Haiyan victims connect with their loved ones.[61]

Voice support was officially added for all Windows Phone 8 devices on April 2, 2013.[62] In September 2014, Viber 5.0 was released and introduced video calling.[63]

In November 2016, Viber version 6.5 launched Public Accounts to allow brands to engage in promotion and customer service on the platform, with initial partners including The Huffington Post, Yandex and The Weather Channel.[31][64] The app integrates with CRM software and offers chatbot APIs for customer service.[31] Viber Communities, an enhanced group chat feature, was introduced in February 2018.[65]

Group calling was introduced with version 10 in February 2019.[66]

Security[edit]

On November 4, 2014, Viber scored 1 out of 7 points on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Secure Messaging Scorecard". Viber received a point for encryption during transit but lost points because communications were not encrypted with keys that the provider didn't have access to (i.e. the communications were not end-to-end encrypted), users could not verify contacts' identities, past messages were not secure if the encryption keys were stolen (i.e. the service did not provide forward secrecy), the code was not open to independent review (i.e. the code was not open-source), the security design was not properly documented, and there had not been a recent independent security audit.[67][68] On November 14, 2014, the EFF changed Viber's score to 2 out of 7 after it had received an external security audit from Ernst & Young's Advanced Security Centre.[67]

On April 19, 2016 with the announcement of Viber version 6.0,[69] Rakuten added end-to-end encryption to their service, but only for one-to-one and group conversations in which all participants are using the latest Viber version for Android, iOS, Windows (Win32) or Windows 10 (UWP).[70][71] The company said that the encryption protocol had only been audited internally, and promised to commission external audits "in the coming weeks".[72] In May 2016, Viber published an overview of their encryption protocol, saying that it is a custom implementation that "uses the same concepts" as the Signal Protocol.[73]

Technical[edit]

Viber's desktop version uses TCP and UDP ports 5242, 4244, 5243, 9785, and the standard HTTP/HTTPS ports 80 and 443.[74]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Viber Media S.à r.l. (13 June 2017). "Viber - Android Apps on Google Play". Google Play. Google. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  2. ^ Viber Media, Inc (13 June 2017). "Viber On the App Store on iTunes". App Store. Apple. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  3. ^ http://taimienphi.vn/download-viber-for-windows-1936/-101044-phien-ban
  4. ^ Viber Media (2018-04-26). "Viber". Windows Phone Marketplace. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  5. ^ Viber Media (23 April 2014). "Viber 10 - BlackBerry World". BlackBerry App World. Research In Motion (RIM). Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  6. ^ https://www.lifewire.com/viber-app-review-3426625
  7. ^ https://www.lifewire.com/viber-out-review-3426597
  8. ^ https://www.statista.com/statistics/316414/viber-messenger-registered-users/
  9. ^ https://www.viber.com/about/
  10. ^ "Viber DMCA POLICY". Viber. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  11. ^ Henry Cavill. Six things to know about Viber. Financial Times. February 14, 2014.
  12. ^ a b The Skype Killers of Belarus By Brett Forrest August 23, 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek, Technology
  13. ^ "Talmon Marco's profile on LinkedIn". Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  14. ^ Jessica Geller. Messaging app Viber names Boston its US headquarters. The Boston Globe. October 16, 2015.
  15. ^ a b "אקזיט ענק: רקוטן היפנית רוכשת את וייבר תמורת כ-900 מיליון דולר". כלכליסט - www.calcalist.co.il. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  16. ^ Viber sold for $900m by Hillel Koren, 14/02/2014, 14:55
  17. ^ "Viber - DMCA Policy". Viber. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Viber Media". Foursquare. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  19. ^ "Top 10 iPhone apps from Israel". ISRAEL21c. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  20. ^ https://techcrunch.com/2010/12/02/viber-iphone/
  21. ^ "Viber founder: 'People should be concerned about privacy'". theguardian.
  22. ^ Parmy Olson (7 May 2013). "Free-Calling App Viber Jumps To Desktop, Hits 200 Million Users". Forbes. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  23. ^ Crook, Jordan (2013-07-23). "Viber Attacked By Syrian Electronic Army". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  24. ^ "Japanese Internet Giant Rakuten Acquires Viber For $900M". TechCrunch. February 13, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  25. ^ "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.
  26. ^ "Most of Viber's owners are based abroad including the Shabtais with a 55.2% stake". Globes. 16 February 2014.
  27. ^ "Viber appoints former AdTech chief to lead the company after more than a year without a CEO - VentureBeat". venturebeat.com. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Viber acquires Chatter Commerce, maker of mobile shopping keyboard ShopChat - VentureBeat". venturebeat.com. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  29. ^ https://www.viber.com/blog/2017-07-11/viber-is-fc-barcelonas-official-communication-channel/
  30. ^ http://www.sportspromedia.com/news/barcelona-viber-camp-nou-vivoom-digital-engagement-platform
  31. ^ a b c Lunden, Ingrid. "Viber follows Messenger, launches Public Accounts for businesses and brands". TechCrunch. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  32. ^ https://www.statista.com/statistics/258749/most-popular-global-mobile-messenger-apps/
  33. ^ "Viber taking on the global giants". Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  34. ^ http://lighthouseinsights.in/viber-india-product-and-marketing-efforts.html/
  35. ^ "Viber to Launch Cryptocurrency in 2019, Slated to Reach over 100 Million Russian Citizens – BTCMANAGER". https://btcmanager.com/. Retrieved 2019-03-17. External link in |website= (help)
  36. ^ https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/business/.premium-the-whatsapp-of-greece-ukraine-and-iraq-1.5399266
  37. ^ https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/28/viber-with-1b-registered-uses-is-launching-viber-community-a-group-chat-for-up-to-1b-users/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer_us=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_cs=0DDZh7IPUL3IDjGQtF_N-Q
  38. ^ "Viber of Russia". Viber.com. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  39. ^ "Viber Рейтинг". Viber.com. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  40. ^ "Viber surpassed WhatsApp in Russia". appleapple.top. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  41. ^ "In Russia, the growing popularity of the Viber messenger | ActualApple.com". Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  42. ^ "26 Interesting Viber Stats and Facts (February 2018)". expandedramblings.com. 17 February 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  43. ^ https://seoheronews.com/whatsapp-viber
  44. ^ "Russia Blocks 50 VPNs & Anonymizers in Telegram Crackdown, Viber Next - TorrentFreak". TorrentFreak. 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  45. ^ "Не получали запроса от Роскомнадзора или других органов»: представитель Viber рассказала о перспективах работы в России". rt.com. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  46. ^ Viber for BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 Now Available Archived May 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  47. ^ "Nokia Store: Download Viber and many other games, wallpaper, ringtones and mobile apps on your Nokia phone". Store.ovi.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  48. ^ "Nokia Store: Download Viber and many other games, wallpaper, ringtones and mobile apps on your Nokia phone". Store.ovi.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  49. ^ "Viber for Bada - Free messages on Samsung Bada". Viber.com. Archived from the original on 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  50. ^ "Viber announces new desktop app, revamps Android and iOS versions". Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  51. ^ "Popular mobile IM/VoIP app 'Viber' available for Linux". WebUpd8. 26 August 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  52. ^ "Viber 4.2 Finally Released For Linux". phoronix.
  53. ^ "Viber for Windows 10 - Beta No Longer - Viber". 19 July 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  54. ^ https://www.techworld.com/download/internet-tools/viber-desktop-101044-3329172/
  55. ^ https://www.redmondpie.com/viber-app-launches-on-ipad-download-it-from-here/
  56. ^ https://www.redmondpie.com/viber-app-for-apple-watch-released/
  57. ^ https://techcrunch.com/2011/03/31/skype-challenger-releases-viber-2-0-free-text-messages-and-more/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer_us=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_cs=iQIV1-UgFNjcfzVBizFXJg
  58. ^ 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.
  59. ^ Russell, Jon (1 October 2013). "Viber Begins Selling Stickers". Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  60. ^ https://www.idownloadblog.com/2013/11/12/viber-4-0/
  61. ^ https://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/disasters/typhoon-yolanda/43421-viber-expands-free-call-service-for-haiyan-relief
  62. ^ "WP8 Users Rejoice! Viber With Voice For Windows Phone 8 Has Been Released". Retrieved 2013-04-02.
  63. ^ https://www.trutower.com/2014/09/11/viber-for-android-ios-windows-osx-updated/
  64. ^ https://rakuten.today/blog/viber-public-accounts.html
  65. ^ https://www.viber.com/blog/2018-02-27/introducing-viber-communities/
  66. ^ https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/viber-10-redesign-news/
  67. ^ a b "Secure Messaging Scorecard. Which apps and tools actually keep your messages safe?". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  68. ^ "Only 6 Messaging Apps Are Truly Secure". PC Magazine. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  69. ^ https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/the-best-encrypted-messaging-apps/
  70. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (19 April 2016). "Viber adds end-to-end encryption and hidden chats as the messaging app privacy wave grows". TechCrunch. AOL Inc. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  71. ^ Viber Media (n.d.). "Viber Security FAQ". support.viber.com. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  72. ^ Meyer, David (19 April 2016). "Another Big Messaging App Joins the End-to-End Encryption Party". Fortune. Time Inc. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  73. ^ "Viber Encryption Overview". Viber. 3 May 2016. Archived from the original on 11 July 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  74. ^ "Opening ports for Viber Desktop". Viber. Viber Media S.à r.l. Retrieved 13 June 2016.

External links[edit]