The messaging app Viber has rolled out an update today. The update launches the Viber Sticker Market and a Push-to-talk function, among a list of other fresh features.
Viber Sticker Market
The Viber Sticker Market is a new opportunity for Viber to monetize the app by offering premium stickers. Such stickers, it should be noted, are different from the free ones that the app has been offering since December 2012.
It would be recalled that Viber has already announced this feature more than a month ago. Such Sticker Market is seen as a response to growing number of messaging apps which allow their users to purchase animated graphics which they can use to decorate their messages. Among the apps that are offering stickers for sale are Line, WeChat, KakaoTalk, Path, Maaii, Kik, and MessageMe. Sticker markets are a lucrative business, as evidenced by the experience of the Japanese app Line. Line reported that its sticker sales accounts for 20 percent of its 9.9 billion yen ($99.8 million) revenue for the third quarter of the year.
The Push-to-talk function allows Viber users to send short voice messages. According to Viber, it simplified the typical four-step process of recorfing, sending, downloading, and playing the voice messages into one easy step. This allows users to respond to a message much faster, at an estimated average of 4 to 6 seconds, instead of the 45 seconds to a minute, which it claims to be more common.
Also among the updates is Viber Out, a feature which was rolled out supposedly ahead of schedule to provide assistance to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Viber Out, which is similar to a Skype feature called Skype Out, allows users to contact the phone numbers even of those which are not users of Viber.
Other new offerings
Android users of the messaging app would be happy to note that the Viber update for Android is said to be designed to work well with the operating system’s native UI. It also introduces improved notifications for those using Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and higher, and makes the app compatible and optimized for tablet users. Group conversations with a hundred participants is now supported, as well as checking Viber messages while one is engaged in a call.
Viber remains free to download on Google Play, and requires only Android 2.2 to work. Here is the link to Viber on the Google Play Store in case you are interested in the new features. More details are available on its website, as well.