Vikas Kapoor dl.vikas at gmail.com
Sun Mar 9 04:39:43 EDT 2008


 When Skype was introduced, it justifiably created a buzz. After all, there weren't a lot of options to conduct a one-on-one voice chat. Then came the voice
feature on Yahoo, ICQ and MSN, but even as you were juggling with your contacts on various messengers and not quite coping with typing, voice chat seemed
the obvious choice. While more and more people are joining Skype, a growing number is also trying to get away from it for one or the other reason (too
many online contacts or just to try something new). For this growing tribe, here are my three favourite alternatives. 

Gizmo (gizmoproject.com): Like Skype, Gizmo offers unlimited PC-to-PC calls to anyone with a Gizmo. It also enables you to remove other messengers and put
all the contacts into a single messenger. Features such as calling a regular landline (also known as Skype Out) and mapping a number in the US or any other
country (Skype In) are also available. However, what's unique about Gizmo is its All Plans Free scheme, which will help you make free PC-to phone calls.

Another feature which makes it score over the others is the provision of a free call-in number from the US area code 775. So your phone number will begin
with 1-775 and your friends in the US can call you through their landlines even if they don't have a Gizmo-all for free. To set up 775, however, you will
require a credit card. If you sign up for Gizmo, it will also give you 25 cents (US$ 0.25) in credit to make outgoing calls. Currently, Gizmo does not
support video chat, but will do so in the next release. It works on Mac / Windows and Linux and on cell phones with GPRS connectivity. 

Open Wengo (openwengo.org): Wengo Phone also allows you to get rid of other messengers and add your Yahoo/ MSN/ ICQ accounts here, and much like Skype and
Gizmo, you can make as many PC-to-PC calls. It also supports SIP and will let you access your corporate IP PBX, if you have one. 

A good option is its ability to hold an audio conference similar to a conference call among multiple PC-to-PC call users. Wengo too supports PC-to- phone
calls which are paid for, but does not have the incoming call facility yet. It also scores over Wengo with its Video Chat, which is operational. 

What I particularly like about Wengo is its relevance indicator in search. So if you are trying to look up someone, chances are you will find the right
person. In its next release, Wengo will offer a Create your Own Directory option, and if you own a company, you can create an internal directory of users
too. It works on Windows / Linux / Mac. 

OoVoo (oovoo.com): If you are through with simple voice chat and audio conferences and want to video chat with several people at the same time, get yourself
an account at Oovoo. Here, for free, you can video chat with up to five people in real time. As you need a good bandwidth for multiple video conferencing,
make sure you have a 512 KB or a 1 MB broadband connection. Where Oovoo lacks is in its inability to eliminate other mesengers, but a good feature is that
you can send video messages to your contact list, put graphic effects and emoticons in your video, send files, and move the entire bar to the side so that
you can video chat and work on a document simultaneously. If you sign up for Oovoo by April 1, you will be entitled to 500 minutes of free calls to the
US and Canada. It works only on Windows and Mac. 


Vikas Kapoor,
MSN Id:dl_vikas at hotmail.com, Yahoo&Skype Id: dl_vikas,
Mobile: (+91) 9891098137.

More information about the AccessIndia mailing list