In the midst of all the TechCrunch 40 coverage, it’s easy to miss some other new startups that are coming out around us. We’ll talk later on this week to some of the people featured at TC40, but right now, I’m going to highlight some things that have come across my inbox of note.

There’s a host of interesting new audio-related blogging tools out recently. We talked about SpinVox on the show recently, and of course Adondo is about to release a new version of PAL that is customized to Bloggers called Phone Portal.

Today, though, a new tool called Utterz was released. The release came to us this morning by way of Greg Blonder. Using Utterz, anyone can use all the capabilities of their mobile phone – voice, video, pictures, and text – to make themselves heard, any time, by instantly posting from their cell to their web pages with no special phone client or software. They now have a mobile tool that gives them the ability to instantly update their blog, using not just text, but voice, pictures, and video. For example, bloggers can now provide:

* On-the-spot reporting from or about events;
* Daily updates during road trips;
* Instant movie reviews while still at the theater;
* Exclusive video footage and pictures from the scene of any event;
* Comments on political or social hot topics as soon as they happen.

We’ll hopefully be getting a chance to speak with the CEO Michael Bayer on the show tomorrow, but in the mean time, I’ll speak a bit to my initial impressions.

It reminds me of a mashup of SnapNPost and r.Podcaster. Essentially, you are able to take text, video and pictures – SMS them to the Utterz phone number, and it’ll show up in the posts area of certain blogs (actually, only LiveJournal currently). I’m not sure the future intentions of the company, and whether they plan to implement the functionality of what’s currently available for LiveJournal users for Blogger, MoveableType and WordPress users. If you select those options, you’re given a JavaScript widget to embed.

Based off the current functionality set it displays, I’d give it a three of five stars. I’m definitely going to keep an eye on it, but it’s not quite up to snuff, and the direction of the company seems a tad bit ambitious for what it is.

Let me explain: I’m all about applications that make life and connecting the real with the online life. Transparency is key, and the less barrier to entry there is to moving data from concept to hard 1’s and 0’s, the more productive we are. The site seems to be centered, however, around building a community and Yet Another Social Network.

In the age of MySpace and Facebook domination, and the ability to leapfrog a Facebook app or a Ning community into an instant social network, the value of Yet Another Social Network is significantly diminished. I don’t want another community I need to keep track of, I want utility that tries to integrate itself into what I’m already doing.

Furthermore, content that I create (mobile-wise or not), I expect to be able to fully integrate into my online presence – something they are doing for LiveJournal (who uses that anymore?) – but not for the core blogger set. I want my content to SEO, and be monetizable. Putting it in a widget doesn’t give it the emphasis that I demand.

The good news is that there is signs that Utterz is allowing for that possibility, like it’s perhaps a plan B if this project doesn’t immediately go viral.

Another interesting feature of the service is when you call in to the number, there’s a sort of open chat line going on with people’s Utterz, an auditory (and threaded) forum, if you will. This is definitely a new concept. I’m interested to see more development and application of that technology in other places (like the comments feature for podcasts I was working on for r.Podcaster before Hurricane Wilma).


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