London-based Cominded has launched its first product, named Yabb, after a year in development. Yabb reminds me of a community like Twitter (text-based microblogging) or Seesmic (video-based microblogging), but this time with voice calls made over Skype. So think ‘VOIP microblogging’.
Users import their Skype contacts, then are asked to allow Yabb access to Skype. The idea is to find a conversation topic of interest to you on the Yabb site, pick someone with interesting thoughts who has joined that topic then send them a call request by asking them to Skype you. By integrating with Skype’s API, Yabb allows you to then call people over Skype. While you wait for a call, you can join other topics, add your thoughts and send more call requests. [Update: I hadn’t previously realised this, but Paul Sweeney points out that Yabb is less disruptive than one might think in that you can’t send voice messages to people who aren’t in your Skype contact list. This means nos ‘voice spam but also less ability for this to go viral maybe].
Yabb will work with with Windows, Mac OS X and Firefox and displays your Skype settings on the site to show your online status and receive calls via Yabb. Users need to ensure Java is enabled in Firefox (it’s enabled by default).
Founder Paul Birch told me Yabb is going to be about re-inventing the ‘art’ of conversation. He is hoping there will be more potential adoption of Yabb than video-blogging systems like Seesmic since most people are happy to talk, but not everyone wants to appear on video. (Yabb is built on Ruby on Rails and is hosted by EngineYard).