When we launched Audioboo way back in March (and that seems like a lifetime ago), we got a wee bit of flak from peeps because it only worked on the iPhone. Fair enough really. People wanted Android, they wanted Blackberry, they wanted Nokia, Windows Mobile, Sony Ericson and all the rest. They wanted audioboo for their phone. How nice is that? But difficult to really deliver on.
That would be some serious development across multiple platforms for a small, cash strapped team like ourselves. We managed to get it onto Android a few weeks ago, mainly due to a great developer and our belief that it’s going to a be a pretty dominant platform very soon. We’ve also been working on a Nokia version for some time but it’s just really difficult to get things right on the Symbian platform and we do like things just right. So the upshot is that it’s currently just not feasible for us to cover every mobile device that’s out there. Sorry.
But we do sincerely hear the pain of users who are unable to, well, be users at the moment. It’s always horrible to say no, sorry, we can’t. So we’ve been moving features around the whiteboard for a while and are finally pleased to announce the release of a very early christmas present for you all.
So welcome browser record/upload. From this Friday (it may be Thursday but we’re hedging our bets here) we’ll be opening up some new functionality for you to all start playing with. Using Firefox or Safari ( it ‘may’ work in IE now but may not – that’s first on our list of things to fix), you’ll be able to either upload an existing audio file of your own or record straight into audioboo.fm via any attached microphone. Then, just like on the iPhone, you can add a picture to go with your boo, type in a title, add tags and then enter a location by clicking or searching on a Google Map. It then does all the stuff a mobile recording will do – appears on audioboo.fm, available to download as a podcast and fires off to the social network of your choice. If you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk and don’t have an iPhone or Android device, we hope you’re going to love this.
The limit is still 5 minutes but the companies signed up to our nascent Audioboo Pro service get longer, as well as the ability to embed this functionality within their own web site. This is currently a big media company tool, already sold to the Royal Opera House, UBC Media and someone else we can’t mention yet but should be able to next week.
We’ll aim to launch a slimmed down paid version of Pro for serious bloggers, independent journalists et al early next year but bear with us on that.
Do we know how you’re going to use Browser Boo? Nope. It might be daily uploads of those audio recordings that have been sitting in a bag under the stairs up till now. It may be copyright material (which we’ll take down, by the way). It could be your existing podcasts. It could be anything. How exciting is that? Even since I started writing this, @Barc_alpha has already suggested that @Dr_Black use it to open up Bletchley Park’s audio archive to the world. What a fantastic idea. We’re sure you’ll have a ton more.
As you may tell, we’re really excited about this. For a few reasons. Firstly, it opens up the audioboo platform to a much larger audience, including those wanting to share pre-edited material, archive recordings and more. We really do want to become the single stop service for all your audio needs, whether that recording, listening or sharing.
Secondly, it moves us much closer to our vision of enabling real conversations on Audioboo. Not realtime streaming ones – the quality issues have always made us veer away from that. But the ability for people to respond to audio with audio itself will be a powerful one. We’re not there yet – some pretty complex database stuff to address first (apparently). But with the ability to record directly from the browser, we’ve moved a step closer towards this.
So have a go when it’s launched. We’d love to know what you think. Upload some audio you’ve had sitting on your hard disk for ever, share it with the world and see what happens. We’re able to accept pretty much any audio format (and if we can’t then et us know). Or get a mic (a webcam should do) and have a go at saying something to the people you know or maybe will know in the future.
UPDATE. Oops – The Next Web covered this earlier