Google’s Rajan Anandan Backed, Aurality- An Instant Podcast Tool
Aurality, as the name suggests, is an app which deals with auditory senses. Aurality converts text into audio streams so that you can listen to articles/news pieces instead of reading. A cross between Pulse and Spotify; Aurality delivers an audio stream of news and blogs to your phone so you can listen to them. One can tune in to recommended content, create one’s own radio-like stations or even discover new content through his/her social graph. Aurality’s vision is to build a complete audio browsing experience for mobile so you get relevant content delivered anytime, anywhere.
Founded by Bhavin Badheka and Janhavi Parikh, Aurality’s beta is currently available on the Apple iTunes Store. Aurality recently raised a seed round of USD 280k where prominent Indian angels such as Rajan Anandan (Google India MD) and Blume ventures participated. Aurality will be making a presence at TechCrunch Disrupt next week. The founders will be in New York where they will unveil new features at the event.
Currently, Aurality allows the user to swap between the modes wherein one can choose if either to listen to just the headlines, a snippet from the article or the full story.
How did the problem surface?
While working for Yahoo! in Singapore, Janhavi always faced a small but niggling problem. Being a frequent cab traveler, the radio services were one thing Janhavi didn’t vouch for. See wanted something useful to happen in this space. Also, looking at the amount of time one spends while commuting, much more can be done with it. Reading is not always good while commuting and hence the idea for Aurality germinated. She asked Bhavin, a friend to have a dekko at the idea. Bhavin, who by then had quit his job with Microsoft in U.K and was working with PRAUM Technologies, a services startup, lapped up on the idea. They started working on it and after a few months of concentrated effort, Aurality saw a soft launch.
How does Aurality do it?
It’s fascinating to know how such a thing works. What Aurality does is that it scans through the entire article and strips off all the HTML tags after which a 3rd party service converts the text to audio which is then hosted on the cloud. Being comfortable with Microsoft, Bhavin and team (which has now beefed upto a total of 4) used Microsoft stack to build the product on.
Challenges and the road ahead
The app still is pretty much in an iteration mode wherein constant effort is being put on making the voice more familiar. It is also difficult to parse all kinds of text on the net for which the algorithms need to be immensely strong. These are the two aspects on which work is being done. Also, moving ahead, Bhavin and Janhavi plan to launch the Android app and also a desktop version.