AudioBoo is a British designed free iPhone app which allows you to record voice messages of up to 5 minutes and post them online along with an image and your location on a Google Map. 'Boos' as they are known are automatically saved in users' accounts as mp3 files and joined to the same RSS feed meaning they can be subscribed to in iTunes or Google Reader. See this screencast for more information. Individual messages can also be embedded on a blog or website and their links cross-posted to Twitter.
Since its launch in March, AudioBoo has caught the public's imagination due to its ease of use, excellent sound quality and social networking credibility. Some journalists are even suggesting it could be used for reporting local stories quickly and easily.
Conceived & developed by Best Before Media and partly funded by Channel 4's 4iP project, AudioBoo also works on an iPod Touch with a wifi connection and external microphone. However, for those who don't have an iPhone or iPod Touch, but still wish to create short podcasts on the move, the team has created a new service PhoneBoo which can be accessed by ringing a UK number from any mobile phone, landline or Skype. All you need to do is register a number on the website, obtain your access code and you're good to go.
Phonecasting of course is not a new phenomenon and has been possible for quite a while for those wanting to create simple podcasts without the need of a computer. Have a look at this earlier post for a great example and listen to this Wes Fryer podcast comparing different ways of producing digital recordings via cell phone.
Unfortunately for UK based audio mobloggers, platforms such as GCast, Drop.io, GabCast and Utterli present certain drawbacks because they either only support US numbers or require paid for credits to use. The latter is possibly due to the worldwide economic downturn, but is frustrating none the less for teachers wishing to regularly create audio from their mobile phones without costing them a fortune. No such problem with PhoneBoo though.
Early adopter, Neville Hobson admits the audio quality of PhoneBoo is not as good as AudioBoo but this is because the latter saves the file locally before uploading it to the web whereas the former captures the sound remotely which typically produces a poorer outcome due to the limitations of recording on a phone. Listen to Neville talking about this in more detail on his FIR podcast with Shel Holtz.
Other fans of AudioBoo include James Clay, Documentally (Christian Payne) and Drama Girl (Kate Foy). Click here to listen to Kate's recent interview with Spencer Howson on the ABC Breakfast Show in Queensland, Australia about the new tool.
John Johnston has been reflecting on how AudioBoo could be used in education allowing pupils to make short audio recordings as podcasts and have others subscribe to them. To hear more of John's thoughts listen here.
AudioBoo is still very much a work in progress at the moment and has experienced growing pains in the first few months. Once these are ironed out and the infrastructure is established, Mark Rock, CEO of Best Before Media will be encouraging others to develop third party apps to create a range of exciting possibilities for users to share their boos in the future. Bootiful!
Have a look too at iPadio which also lets you create instant podcasts or 'phlogs' via the phone. Here's one about collaquialisms from the Isle of Wight from Mr Caulkhead. Makes for interesting listening!
So if ever language teachers and iPhone owners such as Lisa Stevens, José Picardo, Alex Blagona, Chris Holbrook, Laura Walker or Suzi Bewell ever find themselves disheartened by the state of language learning in this country, my advice to them would be to just start 'booing' and I'm sure they'd feel a whole lot better afterwards :)