Home OrganIP: Call Your Friends without Knowing Their Phone Numbers

OrganIP: Call Your Friends without Knowing Their Phone Numbers

Today at the DEMOfall 09 conference, Digitrad announced a new consumer voice service called OrganIP. Although the odd name conjures up ideas of a medical or musical application, we think that perhaps it’s supposed to be a play on the word “organize.” (Well…maybe.) Names aside, what this new application does is intriguing. It connects you with your social networking friends via your mobile phone or web browser, allowing you to place calls even if you don’t know your friend’s phone number. In addition, you can use the app to send voicemails or even voice-to-text messages and all you need to know is a person’s name.

For now, the application only works with your Facebook friends, Gmail contacts/Gtalk, and the .tel domains, but they’re working on adding additional networks including LinkedIn, Windows Live Hotmail, and Twitter, all of which should become available in about a month or so.

Using OrganIP

When you launch the application on the web, you’re presented with a search box where you can type in the contact’s name who you want to reach. Assuming you’re connected to them on one of the supported networks, you’ll then be presented with their profile name next to an icon representing which social network they were found on. To place a call, you just click on one of the three options provided: you can either call directly, send them a voicemail, or send a voice-to-text message.

If you’re placing a call directly, it doesn’t immediately ring the recipient’s phone. Instead, they’re alerted via a message in Gtalk or Facebook chat, if available, or via the OrganIP website. They can then choose to answer the call, send the call to voicemail, or have the voicemail transcribed into text and sent to them.

If you’re worried about all of a sudden getting a deluge of call requests from online buddies, don’t be. The options available for each contact are a direct reflection of how you’ve configured your profile and privacy settings on the social networks in question. For example, if you don’t list your phone number in your Gmail profile, no one can call you directly, it will always go to voicemail. For Facebook and Gtalk, only those friends who are allowed to chat with you can send a URL via the chat interface to invite you to a phone call.

Unfortunately for the company, the actual demo of their technology didn’t go so well on stage. The first attempt at placing a call didn’t go through so it appears they may have some kinks to work out before they officially launch. However, they did give it a shot a second time and the call went through as promised. It’s hard to say whether it was network issues causing the problems or the OrganIP software itself.

Partnership with OpenDNS

Through a partnership with the free DNS resource OpenDNS, any users typing in a telephone number in the address bar will be connected to OrganIP service and provided with shortcuts allowing them to make a call or send a voicemail. For a small startup, that’s really hitting the ground running, as OpenDNS currently boasts about 15 million+ users.

Mobile Application and Future Plans

In addition to the web interface which works on Windows, Mac, and Linux, OrganIP is also launching an Android application which delivers the same functionality to smartphones running Google’s mobile OS. The company is working on versions for iPhone, Palm Pre, Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile, too, which will be made available in the coming months.

For now, OrganIP is a free application, but starting next year, the company plans to charge via a subscription service plan for a reasonable monthly fee which will hover somewhere around $5 per month. The service will be a “freemium” offering, keeping some aspects free while other features will only be available to paying customers. However, all calls made over Wi-Fi networks will remain free always.

OrganIP will be launched into an open beta on October 19, 2009. You can sign up to join at www.organip.com.

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