While following up to see the winners of the Europa Awards, I discovered some very interesting innovative social networking products — audio blogging (podcasting) and automatic audio transcription. Let me explain.AudioBoo I like to think of AudioBoo as Twitter with audio/voice messaging. You open the AudioBoo application on your iPhone, and leave a voice message up to 3 minutes long. This gets uploaded to your online profile at AudioBoo. (You can also make AudioBoo postings without an iPhone.) On its own, not really a big deal. But the genius is in AudioBoo providing the ability to link your AudioBoo account with your Facebook and Twitter account, which automatically serves up links in your social network newsfeeds. You can also embed and provide links to your individual AudioBoo postings. Listen! AudioBoo has provided a (dated) video walkthrough of its service. SpinVox More innovative is SpinVox, which provides automatic transcription to anyone’s voice messages entered into its services. Most users will avail of its voice messaging service, which takes your received mobile voice messages and forwards them to you as text messages. You can give it a quick test for free (ring 0161-369-5672), and it is remarkably accurate (even correctly translated my name). I signed up for SpinVox’s blog service, which provides you a phone number to ring in, leave your audio message, which SpinVox transcribes and delivers to your blog for automatic posting. Blog platforms accommodated are Livejournal, Windows Live Spaces, Moblog.co.uk, Typepad, Vox and Blogger. SpinVox can also be used with Movable Type and WordPress tools. I gave this a go, but while TypePad generated a new posting, it was without any text. Hopefully, AudioBoo’s announcement that they are officially working with SpinVox will improve my result. Quick Voice Pro Unwilling to wait for this AudioBoo-SpinVox creation, through a SpinVox press statement I learned about an existing application that achieves this, called Quick Voice Pro, by nFinity. Through its iPhone application (Mac/Windows desktop software also available), I spoke a test voice message that was promptly posted on this blog as transcribed text. However, the transcription wasn’t as accurate as my direct testing with SpinVox. So, I have a few more tyres to kick around. But I’m confident that 2009 will see the arrival of simplified voice-to-blogging services. This will be a great boon for journalists and anyone else who gets the knack of posting by voice. For right now though, I’ll likely stick with AudioBoo and get comfortable with straight audio postings.
Allan LEONARD is a peace builder. I do this through my personal and professional vocations, with learning, exploring, and reporting. My specialism is the politics of Northern Ireland, whose people and land I love and where I have made my home. I believe in the power of the arts for conflict transformation, through vision, sound, and performance. I work for a shared society and a #sharedfuture