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Drop.io (pronounced drop-ee-oh) is a service I've been using for a while to share files with other users. It's very fast and convenient, also free at low-levels of usage/file size, and not expensive for the premium service. This week they announced on their blog that they have added voice support, and this caught my eye.
They offer two different voice features: first of all a recording interface and secondly a conferencing interface. For recording, you can load the 'Phone.io' template when you create a drop, and this gives a telephone number (and private per-user extension number) to call into. When you call the number, it records the call, and then converts it to MP3 format and posts it on the drop.io site. A simple podcasting tool, if you like. The conferencing interface allows several users to all select the same extension number and join the same multi-party conference (which is not recorded). The numbers that drop.io use are US (NY area code) numbers, so it won't be useful to all at this stage, but presumably if the feature is successful then it can be expanded.
One speaker at eComm (I can't remember which) said that because voice is a "mature" technology, we can't expect much innovation in that area. I rather disagree with that: I think that if you can put the right tools in the hands of developers, then ideas can turn into execution and new applications for voice will be found. There are a few good ideas around at the moment (at least three nice innovations at eComm), and if the tools were better focused on todays web-developers there would be 10 or 100 times as many developers working in this area.
By the way, I don't know what technology they use at Drop.io to connect PSTN calls. I hope it's something from Dialogic, and if not, come on guys let's have a conversation..