Anyone who has a Gmail or Google Apps account and a number of contacts using either service will probably be able to attest to the convenience of using the Google Chat plugin as a way to connect with friends and family. But while Android has most of the plugin’s features built-in, unfortunately there’s no good way to get the same native voice and video chat functionality on iOS devices.
That’s a problem that a tiny startup called SkyMobius has sought to solve with an app called Vtok. The app goes beyond just enabling iOS users to send messages to their connections logged in to Gmail or Google Apps, and contains many of the features people love about the service. That means voice and video chat first and foremost, but it also includes a number of other features.
The Vtok app has been available for a while, but it recently launched its third version of the app, which includes a major upgrade to its user interface and support for a bunch of new features. In addition to the new UI, Vtok is adding picture messaging to the release, which is one feature Sky Mobius founder Manpreet Singh said users were asking for.
Vtok also includes Google Voice integration, essentially enabling users to make and receive calls to other phone numbers directly within the app. In addition to messaging with those who have Google accounts, Vtok users will also be able to send and receive text messages through the app’s Google Voice integration.
So far, the app has received about 4 million downloads since launch, which isn’t a ton of users. But the company is looking to add even more social and interactive ways to communicate with Google Apps and Gmail users.