Vox.io is a startup that has been making waves recently for its innovative take on VOIP. Essentially, it replaces what would normally be a phone number into a hyperlink, a disruptive idea which has many ramifications. But today the company is starting to aim at SMS as well. It’s launched a realtime Chat feature which many observers will interpret simply as a feature. It’s actually more significant than that. Firstly the interface is something I daresay Twitter will be taking a good hard look at. Secondly, this chat feature will be moving to the startup’s iPhone client shortly, going up against WhatsApp and a host of other messaging services trying to kill SMS.
First up vox.io has come up with a great new way to chat. It puts the links and content people talk about in line in a two-column interface. I’m slightly amazed other clients – and perhaps Twitter? – haven’t come up with this simple strategy but it certainly makes chat a lot more intuitive since it means not having to leave the conversation.
Out of the door, vox.io chat is supporting over 200 services including YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, Twitter, Instagram and Google Maps courtesy of Embed.ly.
As with Facebook Chat, vox.io Chat stores messages offline and delivers them the next time the person is online. Alternatively, you can send an SMS straight from the chat interface.
Chat also works inside a vox.io call, which makes me think this is going to be way more fun than Skype.
A mobile version of vox.io with support for text-based communication is already in the works
Vox.io currently allows free calls between vox.io users, calls to regular phones, synced contacts and call history and paid-for SMS. It’s backed by angel investors and Seedcamp (vox.io won Mini Seedcamp London in January 2011 and was selected as one of the top startups at Seedcamp Week 2011).