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Wengo Releases Flash Softphone For Web Pages 62

bolsh writes "Wengo, a French company specializing in VoIP and instant messaging, and patron of the OpenWengo project (previously featured in Free Software magazine and here on Slashdot), has just released WengoVisio — a Flash softphone that you can download and embed in your Web page, to allow readers to call you when you're available through their browser, without downloading any software. (Disclaimer: I work for Wengo, on the OpenWengo project.) It's functionally cut down from the full Wengophone, but it's enough to be able to make a phone call in a Web page for the first time."
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Wengo Releases Flash Softphone For Web Pages

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  • sounds cool (Score:4, Funny)

    by adrianmonk ( 890071 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @11:15PM (#17273880)

    Sounds cool, but why did you name it after a Microsoft Office component?!

  • Links don't work! (Score:3, Informative)

    by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @11:16PM (#17273888)
    One clicks the "Get it now" link on http://www.wengovisio.com/ [wengovisio.com] and is met with: -

    "Offer 141 doesn't exist!"

    Now that sucks big time! Not good PR if you are promoting your stuff.

  • by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @11:17PM (#17273894) Homepage Journal
    "Visio" suggests something visual, i.e. a phone with video chat. But there doesn't seem to be any video involved.

    Also, can Wengo interoperate with Gizmo and/or iChat? If not, why not?
    • The Wengo Visio product does include video chat.

      WengoPhone is an SIP based application that can be used with whatever SIP provider you want, as well as being able to interoperate with AIM, MSN, Yahoo, and Jabber (including Google Chat). Who you can talk to then depends on which SIP networks your SIP provider allows calls to. If you use Wengo as your provider, they only allow calls to other Wengo users. It is one of the more frustrating things about SIP - from a technical point-of-view there is little preven
      • I understand that it does XMPP, which is good.

        My question was more about SIP. If I have iChat (which is SIP-based) and my friend has Wengo (which is SIP-based), can we audio chat? What about Wengo and Gizmo? Or my home iChat client and work Sametime client?

        I ask because I've never seen any SIP software described as interoperating with any other SIP software. Maybe I just need to try a bunch of this stuff and see for myself.
        • In general, the client isn't as important as the provider when it comes to interoperability. The problem is one of initiating the connection. Like IM, or email or a regular phone call, you need some way of locating the person you want to talk to on the internet. If the person you are calling has a static IP address, and has their software / firewall setup to allow direct connections then you can call them directly using their IP address. But the vast majority of people who use the internet do not have a sta
      • According to the first page on openwengo.org it says you can use other sip providers, but in the faq it states:

        Can WengoPhone 2.0 be used with any SIP provider?

        Not right now. However, it is the item with the highest priority on our todo list, apart from having a 2.0 release. So expect to see this feature implement right after the first NG release.
      • Our goal is to have OpenWengo be as open as possible - I want SIP to become the dominant VoIP protocol - and we definitely want the Wengophone to talk with other platforms, as well as share presence information and user directories.

        For my part, I'd love to see various platform providers collaborate on things like directory services and presence so that we could have any SIP user look for any other SIP user, regardless of platform.

        And aside from VoIP, we want to be as inclusive as possible - IM in many proto
  • You can only talk to one person on the phone at once, right?
    I can see one or two rare situations where this would be of use, but generally, uses are there for this type of technology?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BoboB-69 ( 1034912 )

      I can see one or two rare situations where this would be of use, but generally, uses are there for this type of technology?

      This is an incredibly useful tool. It makes it easy for any company to easily allow its customers to contact the company directly via telephones. All while leveraging the exisiting telephony infrastructure. There are wide-ranging uses for this type of connectivity for corporate use. Many users do not want to download helper applications and being able to just click on a web page to make a phone call is extremely helpful for them. IRC and other techno-weenie tools may be useful for the slashdot crowd, but n

      • by daeg ( 828071 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @11:35PM (#17274020)
        Do you really think those same non-tech savvy customers can configure microphones (or even have them)?

        Honestly, I don't see a real use for this. If a company wants to leverage their telephony infrastructure, they can post their phone number in an easy to find location. If they want to cut down on costs, they can simply post a direct number and not a toll-free number (which cost extra).

        Real phones have the advantage of not disconnecting if a user closes their browser window, their laptop suddenly goes into standby, Windows decides its time to reboot for updates, or Spyware decides to show 20 popup windows.

        Cool idea, I just don't see much application for this.
        • by prichardson ( 603676 ) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @12:06AM (#17274220) Journal
          All Macs that come with built-in monitors also come with built-in microphones. This has been the case for quite a few years. They just work and have sound quality that's good enough for audio chats.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Er.. how do you configure a microphone? Provided sound works (and you would need that in order to talk to anyone), I just plug mine in and it works. Even in Linux. As a matter of fact, the connector is the same color as the jack, so I don't even have to figure out where I should be plugging it in. As for the other arguments, I agree. It is trivial, however, to make the web page show a dialog via JS if you attempt to leave/close the page.
          • by muszek ( 882567 )
            Some microphones have a on/off switch. In order to configure it, you need to make sure that this switch is in "on" position. However, most microphones are user friendly and less bloated.
    • by thc69 ( 98798 )
      Does anybody remember "Page the SysOp"?
      • Only did that once, and that was when the TradeWars 2002 universe appeared to have been wiped out.

        The sysop said it was lost to hard drive problems the night before, but the fact that I had dialed in and played my turns about 8 hours *after* the "crash" had me thinking that maybe, just maybe, the sysop was unhappy that I had an invincible class 5 citadel in each sector of a large dead end.

        I'd only used my unspendably-large cash reserves for fighting the bad guys, too. Had I known he was a petty, arrogant j
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The purpose is that ISP's will have to start traffic shaping flash data, in order to promote there own VOIP. even better, maybe block flash altogether.
    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @09:14AM (#17276542) Journal
      The best customer support I have had recently was from a retail place that provided something like an IRC client on their support page. You go to the site, connect to the chat, and they resolve the problem.

      That was fine for me, I type quickly, and I'm at home with text (and I liked the ability to keep an exact record of the conversation). A lot of people, however, prefer to use voice for that kind of thing. Imagine putting a link on your support site saying 'click here to talk to a customer support representative,' and having it just work. You can route it to any SIP phone, or to a POTS line, and the customer doesn't have to know any of the technical details. If I were setting up support for a company these days, I would want to offer both solutions; text for those that don't have a microphone, voice for those that do.

      My hosting company uses iChat for support; I can bing-bong them with quick queries, or have a full video or audio chat if that's more useful. Having the CEO and CTO on your Jabber roster, and the ability to bitch at them directly when things break, provides a certain level of confidence in a company that you rarely find these days.

    • You can only talk to one person on the phone at once, right?
      I can see one or two rare situations where this would be of use, but generally, uses are there for this type of technology?

      I don't see a huge use for it either. Plus I'd rather be the one initiating the call to cut down on prank calls. There's a lot of jerks on the net who'd I'm sure would love the opportunity to harass website owners, esp. of sites that they disagree with the content.

      What would be neat is a way for a web surfer to talk to other

  • by ZahnRosen ( 1040004 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @11:25PM (#17273942) Homepage
    Random harassing phone call from any slob on the internet? No thanks!
    • by epyks ( 1041172 )
      note that you can accept/deny the incoming call + decide whether to be online or not. Then, at some point in the near future you'll be able & may decide to route incoming calls to a fixed line / cell phone & define the rate at which you'd like to be called - hence monetizing your conversations.
    • Random harassing phone call from any slob on the internet? No thanks!
      Call me old-fashioned, but I'd bet that "click here for hot chat wih one of our sexy sluts" will be the main use for this.
  • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @11:31PM (#17273988)
    "Click here to speak to one of our representatives now"

    Should attract a lot of impulse buyers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by metamatic ( 202216 )
      I'm less convinced. I often encounter web sites that provide information and then ask me to call a phone number and talk to someone to actually take action. Well, screw that--if I wanted to talk to someone, I wouldn't be using the web in the first place, I'd have reached for the phone at the start.
      • It's a convienence thing.

        I can't count the number of times I've gone online & run into a wall while searching for information, or found what I was looking for, but called anyways in order to confirm.

        The only downside I see to this is how do you navigate phone menus that don't accept voice commands? You know, "Press 1 for Customer Service" kinda stuff.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bobcat7677 ( 561727 )
          Convienience on the web is live text chat. It has WAY less pitfalls then VOIP. Text Chat doesn't suffer from QOS problems. Text Chat will probably not drop the connection if there is high latency or a momentary loss of connectivity. The system can be anything with a keyboard. Agents can potentially handle multiple chat sessions at once.

          Meanwhile VOIP requires a relatively modern computer, sound card, speakers, microphone, larger software footprint. Call quality can be horrible or downright unusable
  • Of course there is a software sownload - the Flash conponents that implement the softphone are most definitely software. Not only that they are obviously interacting directly with the network in some manner.

    • by epyks ( 1041172 )
      you're right, however in terms of user experience (caller), no download & no specific device confiuration is required - disclaimer, I work for wengo.
  • Wengo is advertising itself as a Skype replacement. The free WengoPhone is Open Source and SIP (telephone standards) compatible.

    Does anyone have experience with Wengo? Skype is excellent, of course, but not open source and not compatible with standards.

    Wengo Links:

    Wengo French [wengo.fr]
    Wengo English [wengo.com]

    WengoPhone [wengophone.com]

    OpenWengo [openwengo.org]

    Wengo consulting [wdeal.com]. Sell your technical knowledge over the phone.

    "Who is Wengo? [wengophone.com] People like you all over the world
    and the team: 35 people in France keeping you in touch."
    Wengo started in 2005. "Wengo is a subsidiary of the group neufcegetel."

    Confusion: It is difficult to find their telephone service rates pages [wengophone.com]. The one linked is for the countries beginning with B.

    Debian Wengo: Package: wengophone (2.0.0~rc5-svn8108-2) [debian.org] "SIP-based software telephone with video and chat features."

    Observations: Their web site is confused. The site is incorrectly translated to English in some places.
    • Very confusing layout, but once you find their rates, you'll find they beat Skype and a few other big names.

      I got 2€ worth of time when signing up, and it's going to take me a while to spend it. The service is fine to
      landlines, but I have been cut off during the few calls I've tried to mobile phones.
    • by tendays ( 890391 )
      I'm glad you asked, so I can <rant> a bit :)

      I (using linux) have been looking for a way to do video calls with my family (using windows) with no success so far.

      At some point I tried using wengo. It uses SIP so it is supposed to interoperate with other software running the same protocol (like ekiga which works on my computer). The linux version didn't work, could neither connect nor access my camera. The windows version didn't work; camera was working but could not connect. They advised in their forums
  • Why I like OpenWengo (Score:3, Informative)

    by at_slashdot ( 674436 ) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @12:01AM (#17274204)
    1. uses a free protocol.
    2. it's free software (yes, free as in speech or freedom)

    Skype is neither free nor uses a free protocol, Gizmo Project is not free (at some point it had a big disclaimer when you installed it, something along the line of: "we don't guarantee that it doesn't contain a virus or that doesn't contain adware" -- No, thank you.
  • This is similar to Camfrog Web [camfrog.com], except with Camfrog you can have multiple open chat windows and can carry on a convo in text while communicating via webcam and voice.

    The downsides are last time I checked it came with a hefty price tag ($9000 for unlimited users) and operates exclusively on Windows servers.

    I really hope this WengoVisio project produces something of similar quality. I've been seeking ways for my organization to communicate with its deaf clients, using sign language, over the web. There

    • If they can sign, can't they type? I guess I don't understand why that or pen and paper are not realistic. I mean I think the idea for automatic translation of sign language is a really great (and frankly cool) idea, I just don't see how it'd be worth the increased cost over a pen and paper or typing in almost all situations.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by UncleTogie ( 1004853 ) *

        If they can sign, can't they type? I guess I don't understand why that or pen and paper are not realistic. I mean I think the idea for automatic translation of sign language is a really great (and frankly cool) idea, I just don't see how it'd be worth the increased cost over a pen and paper or typing in almost all situations.

        Suuuuuuuuure.... Somehow, being able to sign gives you YEARS of keyboarding experience to quickly [in poor health/ill/rabid/blurred vision] type out your problem. Usin' that logic, since you're able to peck out a message on /., you've got the piano keyboard skills to play Für Elise with no training, right?

        This is why my family and I haven't bothered to learn ASL or other variants. VERY few people sign, but darn near EVERYONE talks. We've invested our time more in learning to lip-read. It's not perfe

        • I totally see your point that typing is not the BEST solution by any means. However to be fair, its nothing like playing a piano. If you can read, you can type. You may not be able to type fast but you can do it. I apologize if I came off condescending or what not. I really do think the idea of being able to communicate in whatever way the person feels most comfortable is a great goal. My concern was whether this service would be practical. For example you'd need a camera at the hospital, and a computer an
      • The problem is that English is not a first language for many deaf folk, and ASL (American Sign Language) is a whole language in itself, complete with it's own syntax, structure, idioms, etc. So if you're in a medical emergency setting, pen and paper will likely be very inaccurate compared to an ASL interpreter.

        It would be like trying to communicate, via pen and paper, with someone just off the boat. If you were a doctor or lawyer in an emergency situation you'd need a level of accuracy which incorrect E

  • ISR (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by SeaFox ( 739806 )
    In Soviet Russia, phone looks for YOU!
  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @01:45AM (#17274722)
    "Wengo Releases Flesh Softporn For Web Pages"?

    I guess I need to have my eyes. Of course, the way people are addicted to Web Tech these days, I may be on to something - so to speak.

  • I downloaded WengoPhone, gave it a whirl calling TalkShoe [terrania.us] to log in. While it did call the SIP address just fine, unfortunately the dialer didn't generate the proper touch tones.

    Which means it's not going to be useful to me. Pity.
  • This does not work on MySpace, because of the Java Script.
  • "it's enough to be able to make a phone call in a Web page for the first time."

    Not true. FWD (FreeWorldDialup) had an activex implementation that allowed you to do the same. Here it is http://account.fwdnet.net/fwdtalk/ [fwdnet.net]

    I have used it before and it works fine.

    Another thing - this wengovisio looks suspiciously similar to meebo styling...
    • by epyks ( 1041172 )
      yes, however, it's activeX based, ie limited to windows & it doesn't include video - disclaimer, I work at wengo.
      • yes, however, it's activeX based, ie limited to windows & it doesn't include video - disclaimer, I work at wengo.

        oh, I'm not saying its the best way to do it, but nevertheless, it came first. Besides that, its free. Wengo might call itself free, but I was overwhelmed with the endless mumbo jumbo before I could sign up to try it out, and to top it al off I was asked for a credit card!! Skype doesn't ask for a credit card unless you want some pay services. Thats a part of why they're so big. Maybe weng
        • by epyks ( 1041172 )
          "and to top it al off I was asked for a credit card!!"
          >the widget is entrely free and easy to set-up (3 steps) and doesn't require any credit card.
          >If you refer to the application (wengophone ), I understand from your comment that our account set-up process has to be improved & you're certainly right, BUT it only regards the wengophone (SIP client) and not the widget which is the inital topic here.
          > Finally, you're only required to enter a credit card if you i/ buy credits (to call landli

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?