Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Google Voice Founder Tackles Conference Calls

Uberconference debuts today as a new interface for conference calls — you know, those terrifically annoying occurrences that people in business deal with on a daily basis.

What’s notable about the product is it comes from Craig Walker, the founder and CEO of GrandCentral, which became Google Voice. Walker was also formerly CEO of Dialpad, which became Yahoo Voice.

The Uberconference interface doesn’t require PINs, as individual participants automatically authenticate when they dial in from their own phone numbers. Each participant can see a visual dashboard that shows who is speaking at any time, and can click on each person’s face to get a personal backgrounder based on public social media info.

One neat feature: You know how conference calls are frequently interrupted from background noise coming from one of the callers, but nobody knows who’s the culprit? Uberconference makes it simple for the conference organizer to identify and mute that person.

Uberconference is free, though users who sign up won’t necessarily get access immediately. It’s on the Web and in the U.S. at first, with iPhone and iPad apps coming. Premium services will include local dial-ins, outbound calls and larger conference groups, Walker said today at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York City.

It’s made by Firespotter Labs, which is Walker’s Google Ventures-funded incubator.

Here’s a funny video Firespotter made about the current state of conference calls:

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald