Former Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie was expected to be like most tech resignees: once someone resigns, he or she fades into anonymity and is hardly ever heard of again (unless you’re former Apple co-CEO Steve Wozniak or New Jersey Nets NBA basketball team owner Steve Ballmer).
However, Ray Ozzie’s now placed himself back in the spotlight. What’s he up to these days since he left Microsoft 4 years ago? Ray Ozzie is helping to revolutionize voice calls with the introduction of his new app available on iOS (and soon on Android), known as Talko.
“Talko” doesn’t sound particularly inviting when you consider the name as generic in itself, but the app allows groups and individuals to tag, change (delete or edit), and even add photos to the conversation as it progresses. Recorded voice calls can spell trouble when it comes to user privacy protections, so Ray Ozzie also added a user ability to delete parts or entire conversations if the individual doesn’t want something recorded that proves to be self-incriminating later on.
The power of recorded voice calls in the Talko app is that voice calls can also be searched. So, for example, if a contractor is talking with a client and doesn’t want to use a pen to record everything he needs to know (or doesn’t have a pen or pencil close by), the individual doesn’t need to: he or she can simply use Talko and then search for the needed information.
Talko makes voice calls as searchable as text messages. “I can’t predict how this thing will turn out, but by making voice as easy to use as text it will change things. If the Internet had been invented first, every voice call would be viewed by a different standard,” Ray Ozzie said. Talko allows users to even leave short voice messages if they like, in effect making mobile reminiscent of your old answering machine that’s perhaps in the basement now since your iPhone or Android smartphone came along.
“You don’t need to take notes during conference calls, or worry about things you’ll need to remember to do later. It [Talko] frees people from the work of paying attention to other things in a conversation,” said Hypervoice Consortium co-founder Kelly Fitzsimmons, who has used Ray Ozzie’s Talko app. “Ray is providing an answer to the problem of self-reinvention in a world where everything is stored: You can delete yourself.”
It’s interesting how text-oriented of a world we live in, and how text messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat have become the way to live on mobile – yet and still, very little has changed about voice call experiences since the start of mobile phones. Ozzie wants to bring something convenient to voice calls that will make them as effective as text messages.
While Talko is free to use on iOS, Ray Ozzie says that it’s likely the service will cost $8 or $9 per month per user in a business model. Ray Ozzie and the new Talko app has put voice calls back in the mobile game once more.