Flashtalk or Skype?

October 8, 2003

in Accelerating Innovation, Chat & IM, Social Software

Flashtalk is a new “talking instead of typing” application. It’s not Skype and potentially aimed at a different market. I’ve already discarded it unless someone gives me a real good reason to continue.

Quickly compared to Skype it doesn’t offer a text chat function, is less intuitive and is a little too e-mail centric re adding friends for my liking. I managed one call using their “Find a Friend” function. The voice quality was less than I’ve experienced on Skype. On the plus side add more search capabilities and the dating sites will have to change their execution. It demonstrates how this would work. There can’t be many on it for I’m still waiting to be connected to another friend.

home_player.jpg

A person identifying themselves as Stuart Henshall is using an amazing new communications product called FlashTalk, that lets people speak to each other over the Internet, without any per minute or per call cost, much like instant messaging but without any typing.
Stuart Henshall has defined this email address (xxxxxx ) as their primary email address when using FlashTalk, which allows people within the FlashTalk network to contact Stuart using this email address.

  • Indeed, Skype is not the only software offering free PC-to-PC calls.

    It’s important to note, however, that Skype’s P2P architecture allows us to scale to millions of users without requiring significant centralized resources and associated costs which would otherwise be needed to maintain an updated centralized user directory.

    If these alternative services grow significantly they will incur costs which will force them to require advertising or direct payment from their users as they grow. (I see that Flah talk costs 29.95 after a limited time).

    Of course, this assumes the voice software _is_ maintaining some sort of user directory (which Skype does). In our opinion, a voice application where you must know the IP number of your friend to call them, or manually configure a gateway etc to use the software is not very user friendly and will probably prevent these niche players from reaching a broad audience, which is why they dont have much of a scaling problem in the first place.

    Anyway, that’s an economic argument. I won’t boast here that Skype _also_ has superior sound quality, call completion rates, privacy features, and an interface that has passed usability testing with our non tech-savvy grandmothers (seriously) but I guess I just did 🙂

  • Andreas — No need to convince me! I agree with your economic conclusion. What Flashtalk, Match, Friendster Linked In etc provide are networks that enable the sharing of additional profile data. Most are limited by the number of people on them. Match asks $19.95 for a month. Enabling these communities to broker Skype connections for a fee while enabling the individuals to exchange their more detailed profiles is a big deal and I’d think an additional opportunity. Anonyimity can be retained until the parties decide to share more.

    Your economic argument is also applicable to Enterprises which are thinking about VoIP upgrades. Small to medium firms may find it even more attractive. MS’s IM pricing is just one way of illustrating this.

  • Robert

    come on, this flashtalk don’t work for me, I can’t see it offer anything valuable than an IM.

  • Robert, It didn’t work effectively for me either. I perhaps didn’t say strongly enough above “I’ve discarded it!” For those interested in this area it is still worth looking at the UI. Similarly, some of the site documentation has had real time and care taken with it. I think they have over-invested there before launching the product. Similarly, some reasonalbe descriptive pages with a lousy product is still a lousy product.

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  • Hi,
    Shortly after Skype was released, I looked for a discussion group where english speaking people interested in SykPe could interact and learn from each other. Eventually, lack of any such visible english language discussion group motivated me on September 13, 2003 to create “SkyPe-Software

  • gordon macdonald

    why not download “FIREFLY” or through “virbiage.com” you can get firefly through that route as well. I’ve had it since jan.’04 and works great every time. crystal clear without any trace of static. plus it contains text messaging. no fees whatsoever.
    gordie in canada…

  • gordon macdonald

    why not download “FIREFLY” or through “virbiage.com” you can get firefly through that route as well. I’ve had it since jan.’04 and works great every time. crystal clear without any trace of static. plus it contains text messaging. no fees whatsoever.
    gordie in canada…

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