BarCamp Chennai Day 1: VoiceSnap
BarCamp Chennai flagged off in the morning as planned. Nice sturdy tags were provided for the participants. The sessions kicked off on time.
Ganesh Padmanabhan of VoiceSnap enlighted the features of VS2 a tool to send voice mails over the net.
The audio messages have two parts one VS2 and second VS-lite. VS2 is totally offline and VS-lite is fully online.
To use the VS2 you require to download a small setup file (1.88 mb) and also get an account at the VoiceSnap (which is free). While registering you have to at least refer to one friend’s email id. This is done to spread the word of this relatively new tool and also to help you interact using VoiceSnap as soon as you download.
What if your friend doesn’t have VS2 installed? Well you can use the software and record a message and send it to his email id. The voice messages are pumped down to small sizes thro’ efficient encoding techniques. The size of a 1 minute voice message is about 96 kb. However, progress is been made to use better codec for MP3 streaming and Podcasting, which may increase the size of the Audio files. As of now minimum space is required as it’s only Voice Messages that are being passed.
One other interesting feature in the VS2 is that it is totally offline. You can record as many messages as you want while you are offline. When you log on the net, these files automatically sent and you also receive the voice messages sent by others to you. This is something that you wouldn’t find at Skype/gTalk etc.
I had a small chat With Mr. Ganesh, the brain behind VoiceSnap, during the lunch. Voicesnap recently went on a publicity stunt, where in the local film and TV stars used the tool to answer the questions shot at them over a period of week from all around India, in their own voice to the delight of the users.
I was a bit hesitant at first on how VS2 was going to handle the privacy of its users. If I used the software and my friend used the software, the message is sent to him directly. But if he didn’t use VS2, then he would just get an email with a link to the VoiceSnap server where my message is stored. What if someone found the link/google searched it within the site and listened to our private conversations? Mr. Ganesh simply reveals how smart the system is “The link is unicoded with 40 characters, which implies unless u forward the message the third person can’t get hold of it. As for google search, one cant use specific/advanced search terms like “filetype:mp3”, since all the voice messages are encrypted and stored, only at the time of playing they are decrypted and streamed.”
There was still something that was haunting me. They have the technology, they have the internet speeds (broadband), but why are they still offline. Why not make it a real time voice delivering system like Skype. For which Ganesh replies “Firstly we prefer the old way of sending letters, which is not in real time. Secondly the whole idea is money. When a user downloads the VS2 to run it offline, he will not switch over to a newer service immediately unlike what happened to podcast tools. This way we can get a network of people. Also this will help people manage their conferences. If in future we get competition, we will definitely merge VS-lite and VS2 in a matter of 2 to 3 days”
There is a page at VoiceSnap dedicated to ‘how users have put VS2 to use’ in their daily lives. From podcasting to blogging to RJ to astrology, VS2 finds its application in many fields. Imagine listening to your ‘daily fortunes’ at your desktop instead of visiting sites and reading them.
Mr.Ganesh has also got a vision on the future of the VS2. He says “… in a matter of few years, voice messages will ride on the general web users. As you said, people might just use the service with their email. But VS2 might force them to also download the software, since it lets the users to manage his outgoing and incoming messages. Also if he has not registered, he will not be able to reply to the sender. And to discourage him more from using the Email way, we will delete the all messages at our server which are three or so days old. But for the registered user, the voice messages are intact and never deleted. Something like the google way. You load it on us, we will take care from now on”
Now we had previously mentioned a similar service called Odeo few weeks back. How does VoiceSnap score above Odeo:
1) VoiceSnap allows you to work offline. You can record all your messages offline and upload them at the time you logon the net.
2) Manage your messages at your desktop
3) Download the voice messages to your harddisk
4) A tool for intranetwork to bring down telephone charges/ intercom connections
5) Interaction with a person who doesn’t have an account.
6) Integration with web phone without the usual charges.
One of the major role of VS2 is in the blogging world. You can make an RSS feed of your voice messages and put it up on your blog. Or just about interact with your readers without having to type a word: a contact page which can be customized so that people can send you Voice Messages without having to download the software, directly from your site.
What’s next? Mr.Ganesh says they are working on providing an option which will enable the user to make his audio clips tamper proof and restrict the receiver from downloading it. There by safeguarding the creators copy right. This implies, people can talk their ideas on their site and be sure no one is selling them without their knowledge.
An Indian Technology to be proud of…
Voice-Snap (Queer they dont have a screenshot of their Software)
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