Bubble Motion is going Bollywood. Well, sort of. The company, which started out in the voice SMS space with Bubble Talk, is now building up its base of users in Asia and tying that to voice blogs, including those by celebrities in India, Japan, Indonesia and soon, the Philippines.
Bubble Motion still serves an installed base who want to send voice SMS, but that market didn’t take off as fast as the company would have liked, says President and CEO Tom Clayton. It’s now focused on voice blogging, or BubbleBlog, which it says is “like Twitter with a voice.”
In Japan, for example, BubbleBlog allows actors, musicians, comedians and other celebrities to share status updates in their own voice with fans and followers through their mobile phone. The BubbleBlog platform allows bloggers, or “bubblers,” to dial a code, record a status update and followers are notified by SMS.
One big advantage in the voice service is it’s language agnostic and doesn’t require a transcription service for various languages as would be the case if it were a voice-to-text type of service.
Bubble Motion is hooking up directly with mobile operators to make the service work. That’s because the user experience comes first and foremost, Clayton says, and working through operators means it can reach more people faster than if they were required to download an app.
Why not just use Twitter? Clayton says it actually takes longer to write out a text message than it does to speak a message using the voice blog system. If you want to test that idea, set a timer and type out a message to see how long it takes, he suggests. Plus, using voice is more meaningful and intimate – comedians love the service because they can tell jokes that come off different than they would in text.
With offices in Palo Alto, Calif., and Singapore, Bubble Motion is targeting places like India and Japan, two very different mobile markets, because they’re mobile centric, he says. The company is bullish on the U.S. market, where teens still use voice more so than their counterparts in Japan or India, but it’s not high on the priority list at this time. Mobile operators in the United States tend to move slower than those in these other markets, he says. He’s also not keen on entering the Chinese market, at least not right now, due in part to the bureaucratic nature in which services are brought to market.
As for Facebook and Twitter coming out with their own services, Clayton says he doesn’t consider them competitive threats anytime soon. Even if they wanted to enter the space, it takes a lot of sophistication on the back end to establish a voice system. Bubble Motion’s voice SMS service itself involved about 2.7 million lines of code and the voice blog system involves about 22.6 million lines of code.
That said, Bubble Motion is pursuing deeper integration with Twitter and Facebook on the product front, he says. From a geographic perspective, it’s also considering which markets to go after next.