If you are the inventor of Google Voice, what exactly do you do for an encore? Well, fix the marginally tolerable conference call process, of course. Craig Walker of GrandCentral which morphed into Google Voice and now of Firespotter Labs has a very nice solution to some of the irksome issues surrounding the traditional multi-party teleconference. Uberconferenceallows fast and easy entrance to conference calls, with nice management tools to substantially smooth the process.
Gone are the PINs and the question marks as to who is on or off the call at any given moment. Gone is the annoying noise in the background. When you are invited to an Uberconference, you get an email with a call in number and a text message. When you call that number from your identified phone number, you are automatically authenticated. Or you can choose to have the conference call you once it starts. Furthermore, you can see a visual dashboard on your computer sceren which identifies the speaker and even serves personal background information culled from public social media profiles. The app also allows the organizer to identify the noisy participant and mute the line.
It’s also free, but you may have to wait after submitting your email and requesting an invitation. U.S. only right now, and iPhone and iPad apps are on the way (presumably Android too since Firespotter Labs is a Google Incubator project). There also will be a premium service and it appears the added features may be dial-ins from local numbers, the ability to make outbound calls, capacity for larger conference groups, the ability to pay for a number, larger conference sizes and maybe transcription.
Did I mention it’s free? Have you looked at what ATT or Verizon charge for their crappy service? Are you interested? I thought so.
If ever there was an example of a problem in search of a solution, conference calling would have to be at the top of the list. Setting up the call, originating the call, dialing in to the call, inputting your passcode into the call and, when you are invariably dropped, doing the last couple of steps all over again.
Well, someone has found a way to improve on this nasty process with a new application called Bridg.me. Using their web page interface, you can schedule the call, input the attendees’ phone numbers and set a time. If you enter the hashtag #bridg in the description and participants numbers in the 1+ the number format, your meeting will sync up with Google Calendar. Then wait. When conference time rolls around, Bridg.me calls you and the other participants, no dailing, inputting or holding required. During its trial period, it costs $.05 per minute per person, but soon there will be a free option for basic service and a paid option for unlimited time / participant service.
It does NOT get any simpler than that! Hat tip to Techcrunch.