One of the most notable VoIP apps to give Skype a run for its money, Viber has today been updated with a much-awaited feature and then some.

Released in the App Store in December 2010, Viber offers exactly what its subtitle says: “Free Phone Calls & Text.” Using the app with your phone number as your Viber ID, you can freely communicate with other Viber users via voice calls or instant messaging.

The most noteworthy feature brought by today’s update to the app is concerned with the latter mode of communication.

Before today, Viber allowed for 1:1 chatting only. But now, the app also lets you and your Viber-connected friends engage in group chatting. This puts it on a par with Facebook Messenger, which was updated last month with, among others, the ability to include friends’ friends in group conversations.

The update also introduces custom backgrounds for conversations, whether one-on-one or group. This, in turn, points to a similar feature in a similar app called KakaoTalk Messenger.

Viber Group Messages

The other changes brought by the update are as follows:

  • Photos were added to the Contacts list
  • New voice engine and improved sound quality
  • Added timestamp for each message
  • See who joined Viber lately when viewing the Contacts screen

Optimized for iPhone, Viber is available in the App Store for free.

I use Viber myself to communicate with my friends here and abroad. As such, I can already see myself taking advantage of the newly added group messaging feature on a regular basis.

Are you a happy Viber user as well?