Voice Over Web

Around the time Google announced their purchase of Pyra Labs (indirectly buying Blogger.com) another company

came out called Audblog.

Their concept is to offer people voice posts on their weblogs via phone and everyday users can listen to their posts instead of reading them - such as you are reading mine right now.

It hasn't taken off and I'm not really sure why. Maybe the people geeky enough to even consider such a concept are too afraid to actually carry on a conversation with themselves. Most of them just like constructing their thoughts through random taps on a keyboard.

I listen to a couple myself and it got really annoying. (1) I was continuously trying to hang on to the person's conversation through all the background noise, (2) things didn't flow as nicely when being spoken than when reading, and (3) you could tell they felt very nervous and reserved. Basically it's good idea but needs a lot of work.

Today, however CNET came out with a great concept that may have come from this idea.

CNETRadio.com was born out of the idea that - people are busy and don't always have time to read up on all the news. Real news - not just someone spouting off about their new socks.

The news comes twice a day in .MP3 format. You can listen to it on your computer or quickly burn it for that car ride to and from work (also great for listening during a jog, walking your dog, etc..). With CD's as cheap as they are and being re-writable, it makes complete sense.

Going further:

I think the above it a great idea and I even signed up for it. However, it's just a start with voice on the web. One idea I see this technology being used for is journalist purposes. Folks in the field being able to updating quickly with what's going on. Getting interviews on the spot and actually hearing people's voices.

So how is this different from radio? Simple - not much different. The main benefits would be archiving purposes. Being able to quickly search thousands of voice archives over the web for research projects.

Another difference from radio would be un-edited journalism. There wouldn't be any commercials, there wouldn't be any bleeps, there wouldn't be any "Let's take this out and only point out this side of the story" - there would be pure journalism.

Another idea that comes to mind is quick voice searching. Google Labs developed a system somewhat doing this very thing but very simple right now.

Hook Google's voice search capabilities into un-edited journalism and you now have fully compiled content for websites. Resources from everywhere being pulled in based upon what's going on. If the reporter is reporting on terrorism the site will pick this up and pull in other links that deal with the same situation. Maybe past instances of this or simple "How to deal with Terrorism" links for quick comforting reads.

I'm slowly developing this idea but it could really take care of itself. No more teams of web developers slapping things together and trying to gather resources from the newsroom (which is hard as hell if you've ever worked for a paper) - information would just evolve and grow on itself.