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March 7, 2011

AudioBoo: listen up, speak out

GLOBAL – If you’re into tapping away at your on-screen keypad to update your status on Facebook or Twitter, then imagine a world where you didn’t actually have to type, but could simply speak. AudioBoo is an app that publishes soundbites from your phone, adding location straight to Twitter or Facebook. Find out how it works, by reading on.

As I always do when writing about a new app, I like to get hands on with it and actually use it, so in the interest of research I’ve recorded a short 40 second clip using AudioBoo. I took a short walk to the River Thames in London to test this, as I wanted to see how it worked in the outside world, plus I couldn’t get a GPS signal indoors. It was a bit windy – which you’ll hear from My Boo – which on occasion meant a couple of my words got lost. But take a listen, it’s pretty good.

To embed the audio into this post I grabbed the code from the Web version of AudioBoo, although it appears that the location isn’t embedded into this audio player – but that would be a nice addition for a future update – however you can see that the location is attached to My Boo, here.

Now, imagine Twitter but without the character limit, and remove the texting aspect of it and add voice instead. That’s what AudioBoo is. You do have a limit however, but it’s five minutes worth of audio which means you’ll get a lot more said than you can with 140 characters. Once you’ve installed this app, you’ll be welcomed by the Featured Boos page, but before we go into that, navigate to the Account button at the bottom of the screen. Pressing Log in will take you to the page where you can log in or create a profile. I used the Sign in with Twitter option that popped up, linking my new AudioBoo account instantly with my Twitter account, you can however choose to create a new account the normal away by following that option. Follow all the prompts until you reach Your Account back in the app.

If you want to tell everybody where you are when you eventually make your Boo (that’s what your audio messages are called by-the-way), ticking the Use Current Location? box will make this happen when the time comes.

Now lets talk you through creating and posting your Boo. Hit the Record button at the bottom of the screen and this is where you’ll find the start, pause, resume, restart and publish buttons. Record your first message and pressing publish will take you to the preview window where you can listen to your clip before giving it a description, attaching some tags and uploading it to your AudioBoo profile. It’s at this point your location is saved and then published to your social networks, if you selected to do so when signing up.

The Boos section of this app lists plenty of audio message from the many users of AudioBoo. As we mentioned earlier, the Featured Boos is the default landing page, but if you press the menu key at the top right of the page in the pink menu bar, you’ll see you can view Recent Boos, Popular Boos, Nearby Boos, Followed Boos and even your own creations. If you find a Boo that you want to listen to, highlighting it will open it up for you to listen to and you if you want to see where that clip was created, pressing the View boo location will launch Ovi Maps on your device and show you the exact place it was recorded.

So, while this is a good fun alternative to Twitter, or the like, it’s also proving to be useful in more serious situations. We spoke to Mark Rock, the Founder & CEO of AudioBoo who told us;

We at AudioBoo are committed to providing a high quality audio service.

He then goes on to tell us that AudioBoo isn’t just a good tool for telling all your friends about your day at work or something similar, but it’s also being used in a more useful way. For example, the people in Libya have been using AudioBoo to get news out of the country and it gives them the opportunity to have their voices heard in desperate times. Feb17Voices is an AudioBoo profile dedicated to offering real time news updates, from inside the country as it happens.

AudioBoo even has channels, such as BBC London 94.9FM where you could potentially contribute your own news if you feel like it, Podcast376 for an interactive show or Sky News Radio for another news source.

Stephen Fry has his own AudioBoo profile in which he speaks about all kinds of everyday topics from his QI show or how he feels like a prune. Tony Blackburn also takes time out from his radio show to update his followers using the power of sound.

With 18 million Boos from over 200,000 users, AudioBoo is proving that people still want to speak and be heard, rather than just communicating over a line of digital text. Download AudioBoo from Ovi Store, it’s free and available for a whole variety of devices such as the Nokia N8, the Nokia X6, N97 mini and the Nokia 5800. Let us know what you think of AudioBoo, below.