Streams and an updated iPhone App
We noticed a boo from Apple’s hometown Cupertino yesterday using our amazing semantic audio tracking technology (okay, we happened to have the app open when it came in but that didn’t sound quite as good). Ohh, we thought. Are they finally testing the latest update that we submitted last week? Sure enough, some time later, we received an email saying the app was good to go. Apple are getting very quick at this.
Now Audioboo 1.4 (iTunes link) is a small update on the surface. Fixes a problem with listening to longer boos. Adds audio scrubbing if it’s a long boo. A ‘more’ button at the bottom of the screen for the boolist. Proper Google Maps. But essentially bug fixes and tidying up. Heck, it’s not even officially iOS4 compatible yet (but works on it).
What we did add, though, is support for Streams. And that’s kinda exciting.
Streams are a new way to both create, share & experience boos. A stream is a ‘channel’ that you can create and then assign different access privileges to. You can set one up so only you can upload and listen to. Or create one to allow a named group of people to upload and listen to privately. Or build a Stream for the whole audioboo community to send their audio into. The updated app allows you to click on a Streams Record button in Safari and download that link to your iPhone Home screen. Clicking on that link launches only the Record functionality of Audioboo and automatically sends it to the appropriate Stream.
This is a (clever) short term fix whilst we launch Streams but means we can offer recording to Streams immediately without having to continuously update the application itself.
Streams is a paid features but we think it’s worth it. Multiple streams, moderation, widget embed and more will be part of the functionality we will officially launch in mid July. This will be a tiered pricing model, aimed as much as audio enthusiasts as at companies, conferences and institutions. The big corporate version comes with a moderation interface, so you can choose which boos are published to your stream or just keep choose to them private and download the MP3′s for use in other places.
A point to note. Ownership of the audio is transferred to the stream owner, so they don’t appear in your own account. This was a tricky decision, long debated but I think the right one. The user case that keep coming up was a ‘Sound like a Cow’ quiz competition to boo for £1 million (yeh, right). Most people probably wouldn’t want their imitation of a cow appearing in their own Stream. So they don’t. It will open up a whole range of issues and possibilities going forward, which we will embrace as they come up. The issues are obvious. If a Stream owner exploits your boo, how do you get compensated? To that end, we’re looking at assigning Creative Commons licenses for Streams, so you know where you stand before you upload to one. The possibilities, however, are endless and will only begin to be realised once we begin to roll out this new feature to those who want it to experiment with. Our users have always led the way in telling us how Audioboo should develop and Streams will be no exception.
You’ll have user cases that you’ll share with us. A few of ours that came up during development:
A radio station can create a ‘phone in’ stream, whereby anyone can upload audio to a Stream, which the admin can moderate, publish the best ones on their social networks and download the mp3′s directly for use on their show.
A family can share audio only between themselves.
A corporation can publish audio direct to their staff or named individuals
Two people can have a private chat. Maybe about steam trains or noodles.
And I’m sure our users will teach us many, many more.
In addition, you can brand the stream page with a banner, extra image and description. You can look at @documentally’s test Stream for an idea of what that will look like. Streams even get listed on your profile page.
As audioboo moves forward, we believe Streams will be a very powerful way to both self organise content and also solicit audio from an audience or community. Pro users can embed the upload/record widget in their own website to allow for recording to their Stream. iPhone users can also now download a simple web app that allows them to seamlessly record to a particular stream without having to muck around with tags.
In time, the iPhone and Android app’s will be updated to include native Stream recording & listening but we need to work out the UI on that first. In fact, we first need to work on the Android app, which is in sore need of updating to bring it in line with the iPhone version. But we’re working on that.
We already have some really interesting partners lined up to test it pre-launch.
Like I said, we’re excited about this. Audio communities of many different types and flavours.
And you haven’t even seen all the other stuff on the whiteboard here…