Microsoft's Former Software Guru Wants to Reinvent Phone Calls

Illustration for article titled Microsoft's Former Software Guru Wants to Reinvent Phone Calls

Ray Ozzie, former Chief Software Architect at Microsoft, has decided that voice communication — in other words, the venerable phone call — is broken, and he's going to fix it. With an app.


Talko, his solution, is an iPhone app that basically takes voice calls and voicemail, and gives it all a 21st century spruce-up. You get all sorts of added functionality, like the ability to tag certain parts of a conversation, share photos and text messages during a call, and access archives of old calls. The app is squarely aimed at businesses, and in particular teams that need to work together.

There's particular hatred levelled at conference calls: all the above features work within a group setting, including an option to leave voice messages for an entire group of people — basically like an email reply-all, but over voice. Because that won't get annoying.

At the moment, clever as the solution looks, it's lacking the ubiquity of basic phone calls. Not only does everyone on your team need to download an app, but they all need to be running iPhones: there's not Android app or desktop solution yet, although they're "in the works". [Talko via GeekWire]


Platypus Man

Voice communication definitely still has its place in businesses. However, until we get reliable automatic voice transcription, it'll lack the searchability and therefore archival worth of emails and other text communication.

All of this functionality seems to be cool, but it still seems like more trouble than it's worth. Someone will have to re-listen to a conversation/conference call after the fact, tag a portion with a meaningful label, and then archive it. Later on, the person desiring that information will need to find the archive of the call, pull it up to the label, and then listen to it again, trying to hear what it was that they want amid the sea of voices and hoping that it's even there.

A call is great for discussion, but if it's something you need to access afterwards, written notes are much more useful.