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Businesses Software

Skype Gets A New Competitor: Amazon Announces Chime (geekwire.com) 88

Amazon has released new service to make voice and video calls and share screen. Called Chime, the service is aimed at business users. It directly competes with well-known players such as Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Zoom, and Cisco's WebEx, among others. From a report: Amazon Web Services today unveiled Chime, a new service that it says takes the "frustration out of meetings" by delivering video, voice, chat, and screen sharing. Instead of forcing participants to call one another on a dedicated line, Amazon Chime automatically calls all participants at the start of a meeting, so "joining a meeting is as easy as clicking a button in the app, no PIN required," the company said in a press release. Chime also shows a visual roster of participants, and allows participants to pinpoint who exactly on the call is creating annoying background noise.
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Skype Gets A New Competitor: Amazon Announces Chime

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  • by loranger ( 2707781 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @10:44AM (#53865317)
    ...does it run well on all operating systems?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      as Amazon appears to have forgotten Linux then it obviously does not run well on all OS's

      There is a clear opportunity for a really cross platform system given that MS is making Skype just about useless if not run on Windows.
      It is a shame that this isn't totally free.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      From Amazon's web site:

      "Amazon Chime offers rich apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac"

      No mention of Linux.

      • No mention of Linux.

        Unless 99% of the OS are supported, it's useless for my company then (and lots of company I know). We're in 2017 for god's sake, people should start to understand that not all the people do run Windows or iOS. Especially for a conf-call stuff, where you need to find the common denominator suitable for every callers.

        • "common denominator suitable for every callers"

          You just set the bar so god damn low...

          • by WallyL ( 4154209 )
            • Can display a minimum of 400x400 (arbitrary size) video
            • Can access http on port 80
            • Has a webcam

            Was that so hard?

        • Very much agreed. In my department 50% of the machines are Linux, 20% Apple and the rest Windows. Every time a vendor wants to do something like a webex we have to fire up a virtual Windows environment for them to utilise, and that's ridiculous. In 2017, being OS-agnostic should be the default for any company producing software.

          • "Every time a vendor wants to do something like a webex we have to fire up a virtual Windows environment for them to utilise, and that's ridiculous."

            Webex runs on Linux. More poorly than on Windows, but it runs and I was able to screen share on one occasion when I tried it.

            • Webex runs on Linux. More poorly than on Windows, but it runs and I was able to screen share on one occasion when I tried it.

              Depends on your definition of "runs on Linux". I managed to get the screen-share running (ugly I must say), after a long and epic battle with my browser. But to make the sound work, AFAIR you had to "manually" install of dozen of old/unsupported x86 libs; the operation was heading towards a maintenance disaster so I did not dare to complete it. Anyway, for sound, I usually use a plain-old-physical-phone, the sound quality is usually better.

              • "But to make the sound work, AFAIR you had to "manually" install of dozen of old/unsupported x86 libs;"

                But this is really a Java problem, and not a Webex problem per se, and problems/work-arounds would heavily depend on which Java run-time your browser launches for WebStart apps and whether you have matching sound plugins installed or not.

                Of course, recent Firefox is probably going to break WebStart and all the enterprise-y apps they don't care about but we need. Guess some people will have to dump Firefox

                • But this is really a Java problem, and not a Webex problem per se, [...]

                  Agreed, but random Joe does not give a shit whether the application is not running because it's using a broken virtual environnement or if it's the own application fault. If you are not able to reliably run an application using java web-start, then don't use java web-start. Use a native application, browser plugins, or whatever else.

                • That's the application's fault for not migrating to HTML5 and sticking to Java. Seriously, Java ?
            • Must be fairly recent then - I recall it used to run on it in the past, then stopped supporting it for years. I've not had to do a webex for probably a couple years now - the most common one vendors use for the appliances I support tends to be GoToMeeting. Will have to test out WebEx and see how it's functioning with our current Linux systems.

    • by damaki ( 997243 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @11:00AM (#53865465)
      How could it be any worse than Skype? I've seen it run badly on pretty much every supported OS.
    • GoToMeeting now has a version that runs inside-the-browser on all operating systems (yes including Linux).
    • > does it run well on all operating systems?

      They're only trying to compete with Skype here....

  • by Dakiraun ( 1633747 ) <dakiraun@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @10:52AM (#53865369) Homepage

    So... just as useless as all the other offerings.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      Considering the overwhelming majority of business users have windows for an OS I'd say it's useful for their target audience.

      • Agreed. In my personal experience, IBM is the only enterprise I've seen which isn't totally dependent on MS-Windows for all its office desktops. Most that I've seen are actively opposed to Linux desktops because Microsoft (until recently, I think?) tend to break interoperability with Linux on a regular basis. MS-Exchange was often their favorite tool to break. SharePoint and Microsoft Talk were two others which come to mind. Half the places I've worked at specifically told me not to install Linux on my
    • Surely you could run Chime in an Android VM on a Linux host?
  • I will take a serious look to see if it can really improve GTM/JoinMe/etc crap services.

    GTM is by far the worst offender, every version remains fully intact on your machine until you find and manually delete it. And they have a release schedule that makes Chrome look good.

    Only issue is the pricing. Chime pricing seems awkward.

  • If I have a noon meeting, don't call me at the start of the meeting... All too often I've got back2back meetings and not everyone ends their meetings a few minutes short of the hour. So we need a few minutes for a bio break before the next meeting....

  • Spyware (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nocturrne ( 912399 )
    It will be spyware just like skype. Don't install this on any machine near you.
  • another horrible company announces Toot.
  • Chyme [wikipedia.org]

  • WebRTC turns 5 (Score:5, Informative)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @11:51AM (#53865901)

    https://webrtc.org/ [webrtc.org] "WebRTC is a free, open project that provides browsers and mobile applications with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple APIs. The WebRTC components have been optimized to best serve this purpose."

    You can host it yourself, internal, inside of your firewall if you're that security paranoid.

    There are also solutions hosted by other people if you don't want to deal with that:

    https://appear.in/ [appear.in]

    https://opentokrtc.com/ [opentokrtc.com]

    https://talky.io/ [talky.io]

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @11:51AM (#53865907) Homepage Journal

    I don't know for a fact that it runs in AppData, but the fact we lock it down to keep crypto lockers from running and the fact GoTo Meeting throws a screaming fit demanding it be not locked down AND it runs from randomized directories to prevent us from making an allowance tells me that Amazon is likely to be just as big of a pain in the ass.

    I hope Amazon has learned some good practice about writing programs that can be installed as a system program OR be installed as a user program like Chrome, not as a user program or nothing like the Amazon music player (or Goto Meeting, or Spotify).

    • Looked closer. Haven't installed it but it requires a download.

      STRIKE 1

    • Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS versions listed. No Linux or Java option, in the day of Raspberry Pi's everywhere and an increase of LInux powered devices, including those from Amazon they didn't bother with a Linux version.

      Strike 2

      • There's no reasonable excuse not to support Linux on something like this.

        Release two versions - first and up front release a Nix style [linux.com] package, which for all intents and purposes can be compared to a Mac .dmg file with all dependencies included. Or more accurately an APK for a desktop since they already support a version of Linux by having an Android version. With a Mac, Android, and iOS version out there already the work is done - can you say easy port?

        Then for the braver types and for the distro makers

    • Looks like there isn't a test meeting to join. Pretty much all the other guys have a test meeting. I want to see if I have to do an install of anything just to join, which is the most important thing to me. My company works with many others, we have standardized on a product, but that doesn't mean I don't have to consider every other product out there since we work with so many other companies and they all want to do their own thing. You've probably gathered GoTo Meeting with its absolute demand to run

    • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @12:28PM (#53866241) Homepage Journal

      So, I downloaded the client.

      I logged in as my test domain user - his name is Norm L. User. I right-clicked the installer exe - no there wasn't an MSI even in this day and age - and chose "Run as Administrator" which is exactly what I'm going to have to do for one off user installs.

      Without asking it installed directly into my administrator accounts AppData directory.

      STRIKE 3!!!!

      This program is crap from a corporate perspective.

      • Just when I thought it couldn't get much worse:

        I logged into the machine with the same domain admin account I used to run the installer. I went to Add/Remove programs - I got a message that I didn't have the rights to uninstall it. I am an administrator of both the local machine and the domain.

        I browsed into the AppData directory (which I don't expect the average user who has admin to their own stuff to understand) I found an uninstaller and I ran it. That worked. I then manually deleted the directories

  • ... just to get this single feature--

    allows participants to pinpoint who exactly on the call is creating annoying background noise.

    Good god. I cannot count the times I've heard "please mute your phones" shouted over a conference call.

  • Expensive! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Guillermito ( 187510 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @12:15PM (#53866115) Homepage
    Looks like it costs $15 per user per month for for any plan that allows calls with more than 2 participants. For comparison, I believe Google Suite is $5 per user, and includes email, calendar and an office suite apart from the conferencing software. Or if you want just video calls I think hangouts is free for up to 5 participants. Hangouts and Skype are not nearly perfect, but most of the time they are good enough. How much better this has to be to justify paying that steep price?
  • This will be Big, and a true competitor to Skype if PSTN integration is offered.
  • Killer features? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2017 @01:45PM (#53866861)

    You want killer features for a conference calling app?

    1 - Highlight on your screen all the people who are currently talking.
    2 - Automatic transcription of calls with the individuals talking labeled.
    3 - Ability to pass along a 'talking now' and 'request talking' tokens so that someone can "raise their hand" while someone else is talking. Also the ability to cede the talking now token to one of the other people talking (for when a lot of people are on a conference call)

    Or do current apps have all of this?

  • If the service stinks, it might start being referred to as Chyme [wikipedia.org].
  • From TFA: "and allows participants to pinpoint who exactly on the call is creating annoying background noise."

    Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

  • Ring.cx is a videochat app that puts user privacy and freedom 1st place. By design, there is no big brother, no middleman, no trust problem. Ring leverages the same architecture as bittorrent (DHT), a decentralized network to connect peers. From there, all communication is encrypted peer-to-peer. Best of all, it's free software, backed up by the Free Software Foundation: https://directory.fsf.org/wiki... [fsf.org] More at https://ring.cx/ [ring.cx] Check the team's recent talk at FOSDEM: http://ftp.fau.de/fosdem/2017/... [ftp.fau.de]

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard