Multi-protocol messaging and VoIP communication client VoxOx is back with some new and impressive features amid claims of a more stable platform. Available for Windows and Mac, the freeware offers a robust Personal Assistant feature that includes call recording, call forwarding, call routing, and call screening, as well as expanded social-networking features and stronger back-end support to keep its multitude of services from getting disconnected.
VoxOx also has made a new-user sign-up bonus available to CNET Download.com users, which I'll explain at the bottom of this story.
The Personal Assistant feature introduced in the new version underlines VoxOx's attempt to snag users from its competitors. This is a robust, useful feature for anybody who needs to manage multiple phone lines or is trying to mitigate being "on call" all day, every day. In addition to the on-the-fly features mentioned above, the Personal Assistant can be set to answer all your calls, route calls based on who's calling as well as more standard uniform call routing, "eavesdrop" on voicemails as they're being recorded, set personalized ringback tones, and call recording that can be toggled at-will and in the middle of a call.
Combining the Personal Assistant with the individual phone number that VoxOx gives to all users, and the well-planned call forwarding that allows you to switch phones at will, and VoxOx makes clear its desire to be a one-stop communication hub.
Instant messaging support has been expanded in VoxOx 2. Along with current support for Yahoo, AOL, Google Chat, MSN, ICQ, and Jabber, the new version supports Facebook IM, MySpace IM, Gadu Gadu, and Skype. The new version also bakes-in Facebook status updates, and support for Twitter.
E-mail address book support has also been expanded. In addition to being able to import your contacts from Yahoo, you can now do the same for Google, Hotmail, AOL, Mac, and Outlook address books, too. The contacts are then filtered into a single interface. There's a notification icon that tells you which service the contact originates from, but the unified interface should make it far simpler to keep track of who you know and what service you know them on.
One of the more unusual features in VoxOx 2 is its fax support. Both inbound and outbound faxes are included as part of VoxOx's free feature set. The program automatically converts text documents to fax-appropriate signals when you're sending out. Incoming faxes are received as PDFs. The fax feature does not come with a usage plan limitation.
The useful SMS callback feature from the first version of the program is back, this time with stronger foundational support. VoxOx says that stability and failed callback issues should no longer happen with their new servers.
All outbound phone-based features in VoxOx are based on the number of minutes you have with them. Users are provided with 100 minutes when they sign up, and can earn more points for free via referrals and occasional VoxOx promotions like surveys. CNET readers can take advantage of a limited-time offer to gain more minutes for free.
The first 200 CNET readers who sign up for VoxOx 2 will receive 1,200 free VoxPoints, which equals 1,200 free U.S./Canada calling minutes (or free texts). VoxPoints are also redeemable for international calling and texts at various rates. In addition, CNET readers to sign up within the first 48 hours of the VoxOx 2 launch will receive 200 VoxPoints--double the standard amount of free points given to new users upon sign-up. New users must sign up and SMS verify in order to get their free VoxPoints. To take advantage of the special CNET deal, go to http://signup.voxox.com/cnet2vox.
I'll be writing a hands-on later today, but you can read previous coverage of VoxOx here and here. Mac users should note that the publisher, TelCentris, has discontinued support for older PowerPCs and OS X 10.4.