The Guardian: Audioboo’s new direct messages – the future for personalised radio?

by Jemima Kiss

Audioboo is brewing a new feature that will let users send private messages to each other – like Twitter’s direct messages, but audio. Destination: Massive.

Describing it as a social answerphone, Audioboo thinks it should be ready for release next month. When it does launch (Audioboo is finishing it as we write), users will see an inbox for their private messages and will be able to send a private message to any other Audioboo user. Presumably the ‘block’ feature comes later.

The advantage over an actual voicemail message is much like the advantage of sending a DM on Twitter; you don’t need their mobile number. You just need to be both using the service. Audioboo also keeps your messages stored, unlike your mobile operator, along with your geo-location data and any associated imagery, file names and so on.

Thinking about how Audioboo is used and what it plugs into gets very interesting. If you’re not in a position to type a message, you can record and send a boo instead. There’s a five minute limit (though a planned pro version would allow you more) – but five minutes of audio is a lot more message than 140 characters.

The fruits of Audioboo’s partnership with Pure radios (Pure was one company behind Audioboo’s recent funding) could also be interesting. Next month the first Pure connected radios will include Audioboo in their digital menu. That means you could record an Audioboo mesage on your radio and, like Audioboo chief executive Mark Rock says, send it to your Gran. Who’s obviously an Audioboo user.

“It’s difficult to actually talk to people you’ve connected to on social networks since you rarely know their telephone number. What private boos allow you to do is simply to connect to them via voice, which is often a much richer experience than text. When you add in the location and image data we provide, then we think private boos are going to be a really interesting way for people to stay in touch.”

Eventually, users will receive a notification on whatever device they use when a DM arrives, which means the mobile apps will be updated soon after launch. And where does this lead? Think beyod voicemail. This gets interesting if you think about the one-to-many modle on Twitter, where we want to follow interesting people. Audioboo’s direct messages will be about receiving personalised audio from brands or popular channels.

“The core central concept behind this is the personalisation of audio – something that radio or broadcast services currently do very badly,” said Rock.

“It’s a fan club approach. Subscribe (possibly for a fee) to Stephen Fry’s Audioboos and get personal messages from him, which may be general to his subscribers or, potentially, a birthday message just for you alone.”


Posted by Ted • Tuesday, August 24, 2010 .