Ray Ozzie -- the father of Lotus Notes -- has launched Talko, a smartphone app that records group phone calls, stores them and makes them searchable so group members can go back and listen to key parts of the call and lets participants shoot and insert photos into the call stream in real time.
The company says the target for the free app and an associated for-pay cloud-storage service is corporate work groups that want to hold team discussions and be able to go back and determine exactly what was said.
Right now, the app is available only for the iPhone so its reach is limited, but Android and Web versions are in the works.
Users can set up groups within the app and with a single tap reach out to all the members. The app accesses sensors on participants' phones to tell how they're connected to the network, where they are by time zone and whether and how they are on the move - walking or riding in a car.
When members choose not to participate live, they can let the call run and tap into it later to catch up. The call may be indexed with hashtags inserted by those who participated live so listeners of archived versions can skip around and avoid listening to parts they're not interested in.
Users can text groups and leave brief audio messages that reach other members.
Group callers can also take photos and insert them into the call. So if they're saying they're stuck in traffic, they can insert a picture of the traffic jam. Talko says it's working on support for adding video to the calls.
Talko stores 10 days' worth of calls for free, then notifies users when they're about to be deleted. They can either let them be erased, download them to their own storage or pay to have them stored in Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure clouds for a charge. Ozzie says the cost will be $5 to $9 per user per month, according to a story about Talko in The New York Times.
The app allows deleting all or parts of calls in order to ensure participants' privacy, but the default is to record and store all of them.
The company is backed financially by Ozzie as well as venture firms Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners and Kapor Capital.
Talko is available via the App Store now.
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