When Microsoft’s chief software architect Ray Ozzie stepped down in 2010, people wondered what would be next for the man whose speciality was software. In late 2012, however, an SEC filing revealed Ozzie’s stealthy venture involved the name “Talko.”
After a few years under wraps, Ozzie and his team have finally revealed Talko, which a new collaboration app that seeks to bring voice calls into the modern era.
Talko allows users to tag, bookmark, save, and search through conversations.
“I can’t predict how this thing will turn out, but by making voice as easy to use as text, it will change things,” said Ozzie in an interview with The New York Times. “If the internet had been invented first, every voice call would be viewed by a different standard.”
Talko is most likely to find a foothold in the workplace, where conference calls are often notoriously finicky affairs that feel rooted in a pre-internet era.
With Talko, you can start a conversation with a text, voice message, or phone call, and you can easily categorize your contacts into groups based on team projects.
Talko is flexible in how you use it, and that helps the app feel more like a collaborative workspace than a souped-up voice app.
For example, during a call, Talko users can even snap a photo within the app and share it with those in the conversation. While it’s possible for iPhone users on T-Mobile or AT&T to send photos while calling, it’s still not possible for Verizon or Sprint users — but with Talko, they can.
Talko stores logs of your phone calls from the last 10 days, and also notes who was participating in the conversation and any media or links that were uploaded. Combine that with a tagging system that lets you easily add a hashtag to categorize the call, and you’re left with a searchable index of your past conversations.
One of Talko’s coolest features is visible at the bottom of the app during a conversation, where sound waves with accompanying names let you know who is talking, which is helpful during team conversations or when speaking with people you’re unfamiliar with.
While there’s no doubt Talko can meet a need in the workplace, it’s tough to see the app taking off elsewhere, especially since everyone in a conversation needs to be using Talko for its features to work. Talko tries to do it all, but the app will likely face an uphill battle in convincing people to scrap Skype, group messages and voice messaging in iOS 8, and other collaboration tools like Slack in favour for yet another app.
Talko is currently only available on the iPhone, but Android and web versions are on the way.
You can try Talko for yourself over at the App Store.