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Viber takes on Skype with PC and Mac desktop app

Skype isn’t the only way to make free video calls and chat with people around the world, you know. Viber, one of its biggest rivals, has just launched a desktop application for PC and Mac, allowing mobile users to link up with those on computers around the world.

The app, now available on Windows and Mac (OS X 10.7 and up), is a free download that allows you to make and receive free video and voice calls as well as instant messages. Overall the software is very simplistic and far less cluttered than other similar options, with a four tab layout that reminds us of Twitter.

These tabs offer access to your conversations, contacts, recent interactions and a dial pad for making calls. You’ll need to have Viber installed on your mobile and link the desktop app to your mobile number, but other than that there’s little set up to be done – no accounts, passwords etc.

Both versions offer instant messaging – both individual and group chats – voice calls and video calls. With Viber being on virtually every smartphone OS – iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Symbian and Bada – you can call from mobile to desktop, or vice versa, to and from anywhere in the world, for free.

The addition of desktop software puts Viber in direct competition with Microsoft’s Skype, whilst at the same time moving away from other mobile-only competitors like WhatsApp. If you use Viber on your smartphone then it will sync up with your PC or Mac app as well, so conversations can be picked up where you left off on your mobile when you leave the house or office.

From our brief play with the Windows desktop app we’re impressed, and it seems that Viber could be a serious alternative to Apple’s iMessage and Skype when it comes to free cross-platform messaging. You can find the PC and Mac apps at viber.com and the mobile apps on your smartphone’s app store.

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