Rather than delay a product still in testing, Viber has rolled out a new feature called Viber Out to assist in the relief effort in the Philippines.
As the Philippines struggles to rebuild after the Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation, Viber is offering the users of the platform access to the outside world, including family members or friends who may not be using the VoIP platform.
The feature works almost identically to Skype Out, letting Viber users dial non-Viber users’ phone numbers. Viber is not the only service contributing to the relief effort.
CEO Talmon Marco explains to TechCrunch that this will eventually be a premium (paid) feature available to everyone, but to help with the relief effort in the recently devastated Philippines, Viber has made it a free feature available only in the Philippines.
Marco also expressed that this feature was still in development when Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, killing 10,000 and displacing hundreds of thousands.
“Things happen, and since we’re the largest over-the-top provider there, we rushed something to market that isn’t far from readiness, but isn’t fully completed,” said Marco.
Viber is also working on letting non-Viber users outside of the Philippines call local residents who use Viber.
Marco says that Viber is rushing to get this new feature rolled out to everyone as quickly as possible given the updated timeframe. Viber Out will be one of the first revenue-generating features from Viber, including the forthcoming Sticker Market.