This is real: New audio app features humans reading the news

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Issue Date: 
Nov 29 2012 - 12:45pm

From Issue:

A company called SoThree, founded by three former Google engineers, has unveiled a new smartphone app for the 94 million or so in the U.S. who can't read a newspaper while driving to work. It's called Umano ("human" in Italian).

Umano's team chooses about 15 news stories a day from the web, which its team of voice actors reads and records (material that's "geeky (which is code for techy/gadget stuff), scientific, entrepreneurial, and inspirational," according to PandoDaily.com). The company hopes to expand its coverage to 100 articles a day over the next six months.

Now, if the software could incorporate local weather, traffic, and sports, they might really be on to something novel!

PandoDaily's (pretty unironic) coverage is here.

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This is pretty cool. It would

This is pretty cool. It would be advantageous to have the audio rather than reading.

No Android app from 3 former

No Android app from 3 former Googlers? No ability to have local news read by local community? SoLame.

"Umano's team chooses about

"Umano's team chooses about 15 news stories a day." Sounds like this is the first stage of something bigger. Expecting local news at this point probably isn't realistic, no matter which company the founders came from.

But lack of Android app is surprising.

I could rule their market in

I could rule their market in 1 month, without a single paid VO person, and without any money. But that ignores how narrow a slice of spectrum they represent. There's much much larger markets that are already saturated by random-VO-guy-reading-newswire, so they have no room to grow. But... community sourced and local? Crazy good potential to make radio start to suck a little less too. I'll stay anon, but will prop-drop that I co-founded what once was the #1 net-only for 2.5 years running, and quit Pho nearly 10 years ago because they don't have new vision. So I'm not some kid talking nonsense.

Anyways, this idea in general isn't fresh enough to interest my personal involvement. Y'all can have it. Last one to patent the business methods is a rotten egg.

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