Using Talko, A Review by Two Technical Guys

Talko shipped on Tuesday Sept 23 and the first person I connected with is David D’Souza.  David shares a tweet with another friend using Talko.


friend's reaction to talko: it's weird talking to my phone

So what is Talko?  To some it is just iMessage copied.

Talko looks like a solution to the problem that iOS 8's Messages has already solved

Oh dear. On Tuesday, software giant Ray Ozzie launched Talko, an app that promises to “save the telephone call”—and basically copies Apple’s iOS 8 Messages feature in the process.

David D’Souza and I used Talko on Tues Sept 23, discussing the usefulness of the app.  David and I are both ex-Microsoftees and got to know each other during the Win95 days.  So we are of old guys who now focus on mobile and cloud now leaving behind the days of Desktop OS far in the past.  OMG, Win95 is going to be 20 years old next year.  David has an iPhone 6 Plus with 64 GB.  I have a iPhone 6 with 128 GB.  Talko is iOS only, but Android is the future. 

We both made the comment that Talko does what iMessage does, but given it is a Ray Ozzie project it is going to have Lotus Notes type of collaboration which is why there is the idea of teams.  Gigaom’s Barb Darrow highlights the notes and offline feature.

And — this is important — if there is no connectivity, you can still record whatever you need to say for later playback. “As you can imagine from my history, it’s important to have offline capability,” Ozzie said in a recent interview at Talko’s Boston office. One of Lotus Notes’ selling points was that users could work offline and then sync their changes to the workgroup mothership when connectivity was re-established.

The user experience is a bit awkward.  I accidentally hit the voice feature.  Switching between voice and typing can be hard.  We spent most of the time typing and discussed those users who don’t like to type.  What, there are users who don’t like to type?  Yes.  And these are the same people who liked the push to talk feature.  We discussed this user scenario in more detail as I focus on the enterprise market with another business.  Sorry not telling you the specifics on the users as it is too valuable to just throw out there.

One of the premium features to be sold is the long term record of discussions.  I mentioned some users I know like using voice because it supports future discussions of my word vs. their word and there is no permanent record.  If there is a permanent record then people could get stuck in my word vs. their word discussions.  Notice how few phone calls are recorded, and the few times phone calls are recorded are during discussions with financial institutions.

Ray Ozzie is most likely skipping the short term viral strategy getting millions of users and sell for a billion or two.  He is taking lessons learned from Lotus Notes, making mobile and cloud the platform, adding voice as a big feature, collaboration for teams.

Can you imagine what Ray would have had to do in the past to launch his service?  Now he can build on AWS and Azure.

As Ozzie has said in his few public comments to date about Talko, the availability of capable, inexpensive cloud services, open-source software and ever-smarter smartphones has enabled the creation of very rich services like this. Startups no longer have to sweat the plumbing whereas a decade ago new companies spent most of their seed capital buying pricey servers and commercial software just to get down the chute.

Next step is to try and use Talko with the family and see what they say.  David D’Souza and I are not fair representation of typical users. :-)