ooVoo Video Conferencing with Desktop Sharing Challenges Skype, Cisco, Google

Startup OoVoo breaks free from the consumer mold by offering its video conferencing service to small businesses. The software, aimed at messaging and collaboration solutions from Skype, Cisco and Google, includes desktop screen sharing to help users better share content. The software also has granular pricing, starting at a free two-way plan with conversation caps of 1 minute and ending at six-way high-definition video conferencing with fat file sharing and unlimited 5-minute chats.

Video chat startup ooVoo is making a bid to move from the consumer sector to the turf of such powers as Cisco, Skype and Google with a new version of its software that delivers to small businesses video conferencing and screen sharing for up to six users at once.

For $39.95 a month, ooVoo Version 2.2 for businesses lets up to six workers chat via video and phone at the same time, with the ability to add non-ooVoo users to the video conversations.

Moreover, this package is ad-free, so paying customers won't be distracted by the banner advertisements that afflict consumer users of the service during video conversations. Users need a Webcam and broadband connection to engage in multiperson video chat and voice sessions.

The software also allows such users to "share," or show their fellow users their desktop screens, during video conference sessions. This is a crucial collaboration tool because users can grant other participants access to their presentations or documents on their computer screens during sessions.

Business users can also share files, text chat, send video messages and record conversations. This all has the value of letting users work together as if they are in the same office, even when they are geographically dispersed.

OoVoo sees its business service as important at a time when the economy is weak and companies are looking to take a bite out of travel costs with products that will let workers meet face to face, albeit via a personal computer or laptop.

While Skype rocketed to popularity over the last five years, particularly from users overseas looking to use free video chats and make cheap international calls from their computers, Google, Cisco and now ooVoo hope to steal some of that magic.

Skype's free service, which includes video chat and screen sharing, is used by some 443 million consumers and even businesses, but lacks multiperson video conferencing.

Google offers video chat as part of Gmail; however, there is no multiparty capability in this simple tool.

Cisco, arguably the networking collaboration giant, also offers businesses multiuser video conferencing and collaboration via its WebEx collaboration suite, starting at $59 a month.

Moreover, none of these companies has the granular pricing scheme ooVoo boasts with its new pay-as-you-grow pricing model, which rises incrementally as businesses add more users and features to the mix.

Small businesses that aren't sure ooVoo 2.2 is the right route for them can test a free video plan for up to two users, which includes unlimited one minute video messages.

Businesses that decide to add more users can add up to four more video windows, stating at $7.95 for a three-user plan, including unlimited 5-minute messages and the ability to share and send files up to 10 megabits each. pay-per-use billing model.

The $39.95 per month plan gets businesses 6-person live video chat; 5 video chat rooms; desktop sharing; high-resolution and high-definition video; unlimited 5-minute video messages; file-sharing of 25 megabits each; video effects; no ads and discounts for multi-seat purchases.