VoIP

Skype rival Viber bought by Rakuten in e-commerce comms push

Skype rival Viber bought by Rakuten in e-commerce comms push

Skype rival Viber has been bought by Rakuten, the rapidly growing Japanese internet commerce firm, in a $900m deal that will see it push the call and messaging service as a social gaming platform. Rakuten, which already owns online retailer Play.com, ebook platform Kobo, and digital mobile content platform Viki, aims to transform Viber - which already has around 300m registered users - into a communications gateway for its other services, such as contacting online retailers with questions before a purchase is made.

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BBM adds voice calls, BBM Channels and Dropbox for iPhone & Android

BBM adds voice calls, BBM Channels and Dropbox for iPhone & Android

BlackBerry has rolled out an update to BBM for iPhone and Android, adding in BBM Voice for making calls, and enabling BBM Channels, among other new features. The update, available today, sees BlackBerry's cross-platform messaging client also add in Dropbox support, allowing files stored in the cloud to be sent directly to a BBM contact without having to download it to the smartphone first.

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Google Hangouts gets desktop voice calls (with North America bundled)

Google Hangouts gets desktop voice calls (with North America bundled)

Google has restored voice call functionality to desktop Hangouts in Gmail, Google+, and the Chrome extension, after the feature disappeared for those early-adopters who switched from the previous chat widget. The company has offered voice calls through Gmail for some time now, including free calls within the US and Canada as part of a frequently-renewed promotion, and as of this week Hangouts gets the upgrade too.

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Skype supernode switch for stable scaling not Project Chess NSA spying

Skype supernode switch for stable scaling not Project Chess NSA spying

Skype's own hunt for stability, not clandestine aims for call tapping, forced the significant infrastructure changes that led to speculation Microsoft and the NSA were spying on VoIP, the company's principle architect has insisted. Matthew Kaufman, now a Microsoft employee following the VoIP company's acquisition, took to the IP mailing list to address concerns of NSA monitoring collaboration and the so-called "Project Chess" that was revealed earlier this month.

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Skype Project Chess allegedly explored NSA access ahead of Microsoft buy

Skype Project Chess allegedly explored NSA access ahead of Microsoft buy

Skype allegedly developed a clandestine program dubbed Project Chass that investigated potential ways to increase government and law enforcement access to its VoIP calling service, years in advance of Microsoft's acquisition in 2011. Project Chess was formed while Skype had "sometimes contentious talks with the government over legal issues," insiders tell the NYTimes, with knowledge of the program limited to under a dozen within the firm.

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Skype Video Messaging graduates from beta with unlimited clip support

Skype Video Messaging graduates from beta with unlimited clip support

Skype has taken Skype Video Messaging out of beta, pushing the three minute clip-sharing service to most of its desktop and mobile apps. Previewed back in February - though limited at the time to just 20 messages per user - the full launch of the Video Messaging service includes unlimited use and doesn't require one of Skype's premium packages, taking on MMS video in the process.

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