Monday, October 1, 2007

Free voice calls with pudding media

This is becoming one of the most talked about product. My initial reaction to pudding media’s ad based free voice call was; wow that’s cool deal. However, when I digged into more technical details on how that is achieved, man this is so creepy. I don’t know if I would be comfortable with some one listening to my voice conversation. I can leave with the idea of ads in offline messaging. This is a real-time voice call intrusion. In the Telco world, this is called LI (Lawful interception aka wiretapping). I’m not very excited about the whole deal; well there are folks who would not bother about privacy intrusion for free call (yeh, its free beer). I guess pudding media founders are targeting the teens than the older crowd that might be averse to the idea of call monitoring. Pudding is not the first free ad based platform, we’ve seen ad based free Wi-Fi( MetroFI) and free mobile phone service supported by ads (Blyk ) Also, I read on the web that pudding media was started by guys who used to work for intelligence in the military. Perfect, obviously these guys were working on wiretapping voice conversation.
Though some of the folks might not be comfortable with voice call intrusion, I still think it might cater a selected user base that is not bothered about any of these privacy intrusions.
Couple of things I still don’t understand are
• How will the speech recognition software understand languages other than English.
• Does the user need to install some kind of plug-in to make voice calls. Pudding media claims that u don’t need to download anything to make call from the browser.
• Will it be unlimited calling or some kind of max minutes limitation.
• Does it have plans to support international calling in future?

Another interesting company I stumbled upon was FonCloud. I was reading Alec’s Article on pudding, did write some comments to which shai Berger happened to answers. Apparently, it turns out Shai Berger is also working on something similar or maybe better, with his new venture called foncloud. Some interesting stuff in Shai Bergers Blog . Will digg more on this company later. For now, im desperately waiting for an invite from pudding media.

Here is some extracts from NYtimes Article

Pudding Media is eavesdropping on phone calls in order to display ads on the screen that are related to the conversation. Voice recognition software monitors the calls, selects ads based on what it hears and pushes the ads to the subscriber’s computer screen while he or she is still talking.
The company’s model, of course, raises questions about the line between target advertising and violation of privacy. Consumer-brand companies are increasingly trying to use data about people to deliver different ads to them based on their demographics and behavior online.

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Salene said...

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