Some months ago I first heard of Viber, a much hyped iPhone VoIP App offering free calls from iPhone to iPhone. Not really a new thing if you ask me; Skype is the most known VoIP App and has been around for ages, as have many, many other VoIP/SIP clients…
So, why did Viber get so hyped?
My guess? The smooth integration with your addressbook, having the Viber logo next to contacts that have the App too does make it easy to use Viber as your Dialer.
Viber is strongly promoting the fact that it is free and will ‘always’ remain free and also, the App doesn’t have any ads, no in-App purchases, you can’t buy credits to call non-Viber users (as Skype offers)…I really don’t believe in a free lunch (at least, in iPhone App-land), so what is the catch?
Today I got the first indication:
They furthermore don’t guarantee what will happen to these logs if they merge or are acquired; while this can be seen as obvious it also shows what their asset really is: YOUR call logs which contain your telephone number, location data (IP-address) and the phonenumbers from your addressbook…this creates huge privacy and security concerns!! And without a strategy showing how they intend to make money with this App (again; no ads, no in-App purchases, no credit-plan, etc.), things get fishy…the Telecompaper had an interesting article some weeks ago summing things up and making the Viber-Skype comparison.
My advice; *de-install* it and use a more transparent alternative such as Skype or others.
Oh, one last thing; even when you delete the App from your iPhone, your account *including* your phone number will be kept indefinitely. If you want to delete your account completely you have to go through a cumbersome process of contacting Viber via “Viber Support” (available at Viber.com) and request that your account is deleted…sorry, no straightforward process for this exists…typical, eh?