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September 25, 2014

Ray Ozzie Intros App to Unleash the Power of Voice, Better Collaboration

Famed software developer Ray Ozzie this week introduced a new WebRTC-based smartphone app called Talko aimed at making business communications easier and more collaborative.

Combining conferencing, photo sharing, phone calling, and text messaging, Talko reportedly makes it simple to initiate conferences and other calls, and to share photos. It also turns each interaction into a storable document.

Ozzie, a former Microsoft chief software architect, and developer of Lotus Notes and VisiCalc, in a blog Tuesday listed the limitations of texting and voice, and talked about what’s now possible. Texting, he wrote, is efficient but lacks the ability to convey emotion. Meanwhile, voice is “stuck in the past” and “boring”. But when voice is transmitted over IP, he said, it becomes possible to hyperlink and share voice just like text and photos; to weave voice into apps; and to apply algorithms to stored voice to recognize keywords, create transcriptions, and more.

“Our mission at Talko is to make communication human again,” he explained, in an effort to deliver communications tools that increase the humanity and value of peoples’ interactions.

“I passionately believe that there’s immense latent potential in voiceto convey tone and emotion, to quickly resolve issues, to make decisions and to get things done,” he added.

Talko is an iPhone app and will be available for Android at an undisclosed future time. The free version will reportedly store phone calls for 10 days. The business model here appears to have something to do with charging for monthly storage in the future.

The app has been in the works since early 2012, according to Ozzie, when he and his former coworkers Eric Patey and Matt Pope built a team out of Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle. After about a year, the group began distributing the product to business teams to try, and Talko by now has seen more than a year of real-world use.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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