Pinger: Did they hear your voicemail?

pinger logoYou left a voicemail on someone’s cell phone. Now you are sitting around wondering if they listened to you message. What do you do? Call them back? Wait it out? Now there is something that you can do!

Enter Pinger, a cool cell phone voice mail application. When you sign up for Pinger, it allows you to call a phone number and leave a voice mail on any cell phone.

This is where it gets really neat. Pinger has introduced a new feature where you can actually see whether your message was picked up or not - an ear icon shows up next to the item in the outbox of your web account, when your message is played.

Pinger turned out to be remarkably easy to install. Like all web based mobile apps, you give them your mobile number when you open an account. They text a code to your phone, which you use for verification.

The feature that worked really well was the address book. You type in names of your contacts. When you want to leave a voicemail for them, you just speak their names into the phone. The name recognition worked well (seems to even pick up on foreign sounding names). You can also send a broadcast voicemail to a group of people.

pinger mail box

According to John Lai, Product Manager at Pinger, they have several other new features such as Pinger Promotions.

“This service allows our partners to post a widget on their website so that users can subscribe to receive audio clips from the partner. This also works if the partner already has a subscriber list whose members have opted into receiving content on their mobile phones. “

Previously we wrote about YouMail, a service that makes your voicemail a whole lot more exciting, by allowing you to customize your outgoing voicemail greetings, along with a host of other handy features.

Pinger provides a convenient voice alternative to text messaging.It is scary enough when people drive down the highway talking at length on their cell phones (while reading the newspaper, and eating at the same time), they don’t need to be sending SMSs as well. Hopefully, a service like Pinger will dissuade that kind of behavior!

Pinger is based in San Jose, and received $3M in series A funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and $8M in series B in a round that also included a new investor, DAG ventures.


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Microsoft releases new health website HealthVault

Microsoft has released a new site for storing health records, called Health Vault. It is generally acknowledged that in this day and age of mobility, it is necessary to have some way to digitally store medical histories, in a way that they are securely and permanently accessible. To be useful, however, health care providers have to buy into the system. That is where the challenge is going to lie for Microsoft and a host of other start-ups in this field.


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My friends went to a Web 2.0 conference and all I got was a Threadless T-Shirt

threadless

What has been the best use of the Web 2.0 collaborative features? Wikipedia? Facebook? Nope.. it is the T-Shirt site - Threadless.

Threadless is a t-shirt site that solicits designs that are rated by its members, sort of like Digg meets T-Shirt design. The winner gets a cash prize and bragging rights when it sees print. The projected sales for 2007 are expected to be around $30M. Last month Threadless opened its flagship retail store in Chicago.

Most of the t-shirts are sort of whimsical, like this one:

haiku

Two things surprised me about this story; their sales figures (I expected it to be closer to 5-10M, it is 30M) and that they want to have a brick and mortar presence.

Brady Forrest at O’reliey advances the following explanation for a physical presence by Threadless:

It makes more sense when you remember that Threadless is built on community. Having a physical space lets them give back to the community in ways a website never will. It helps them expand the brand beyond their current internet-found customer base, while maintaining the personal and respectful relationship with their t-shirt artists — something that they couldn’t do with many partners.

To me, the explanation is as whimsical and as haiku like as the t-shirts that Threadless sells.

They are already growing by a factor of 3 every year; if they want to expand, they should try affinity groups - schools, teams and like. Having a store in a cold, parking starved Chicago is somewhat puzzling to me.

As one of the slogan on Threadless t-shirt says, “I don’t want EVERYTHING, if I got it all, where would I put it?” There is a lesson in that quote somewhere!


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