Keeping in touch with your friends internationally has never been easier!  Viber is a Smartphone app that allows you to connect with anyone around the globe for free – using either your Internet data plan or available Wifi.  There are different smartphone apps available for free texting, but this application allows you to make telephone calls in addition to the messenger feature.  You can send SMS, pictures, videos, and other attachments to anyone else who has this app on his or her Smartphone. Once you have downloaded the program through your app store, it will ask you to enter in your area code and phone number to send you a verification code.  Then, you are registered as a Viber user. 

When you open Viber, there is a toolbar on the bottom of the homepage.  This toolbar has 5 main tabs: Messages, Recents, Contacts, Keypad, and More.  The first tab, Messages, takes you to a page where all your conversations will be displayed.   This page will be blank until you start a conversation with one of your contacts.  You can do this by pressing “Compose” on the top right hand corner of the screen.  This will let you scroll down your contacts list and add participants.  If you select more than one name at any one time, you will be starting  a group chat session.  Once you have selected the person you want to contact, hit ‘Done,’ and a conversation box will open. 

On the bottom of the screen, you can type to compose a message.  On the bottom left-hand corner, there is a “+” sign.   By selecting this button, you can either take a photo, upload a photo from your gallery, attach one of the emoticons or stickers, and/or send your location to the person along with your message.  Press “Send” whenever you are ready to send the message.  On the top right-hand corner of the screen, there are two icons next to the name and picture of the contact you are messaging–a toolbar icon and a “Call” button.  The toolbar icon takes you to a screen where you can add a background photo to the conversation, set up default notifications for the individual, and/or add participants to the conversation.  If you want to edit any conversation, hit the “Menu” button on your phone when you are on the conversation screen.   This pops up four options: Edit Messages, Delete, Call, and Add Participants.  Edit Messages allows you to delete any message(s) from the conversation; Delete eliminates the entire conversation; Call will connect you to a call with that contact; and Add Participants will allow you to add more contacts to the conversation. 

The second tab on the main toolbar is “Recents.”  This will take you to a screen that displays all calls and missed calls made through your normal phone service in addition to Viber.  You can use Viber to make any of your phone calls.  However, the messenger aspect can only be used with other Viber users.  The third tab on the application is “Contacts.”  Under Viber, you will see which of your fellow contacts are also Viber users.  Under All, it will display all your regular contacts.  Your Favorites are synced with your normal contact favorites through your phone.  Contacts who are on Viber will have a purple Viber icon next to their names.  If you click on this icon, it will automatically start calling them.

If you select the Menu button on your phone while on the “Contacts” page, it will let you either add a New Contact, Search for a contact, or Update/refresh your contact list to see if any new friends have joined Viber. 

The fourth tab is “Keypad.”  This lets you dial a phone number, the same way as you would without using this app. 

The fifth tab is “More.”  This takes you to your settings page.  The top of the page displays your icon.  Press this area if you want to edit/upload a picture to be your profile picture on Viber, and you can edit your display name as well.  You can also sync this with your Facebook information if you so choose.   Under Settings, you can update multiple features.  For example, you can connect with your Facebook and/or Twitter, use system sounds, enable or disable the popup feature of messages, use Viber as your primary mode of sending text messages/SMS, email message history, and more. 

On the “More” screen, you can also invite other friends to Viber via SMS, Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail.  If you wish to deactivate your account at any time, this can also be done on this page.  Call quality depends on your internet connection as well as that of the other individual, but this feature enabling us to call friends and family all over the world through a free app is a wonderful Smartphone feature.  Enjoy! 

Viber is available for both Android and iOs devices.