The World Wide Web is perhaps the greatest technology innovation the world has seen in the last few decades. It has created the largest repository of information, opened new streams of businesses, and transformed the way people communicate. The World Wide Web has helped eliminate geographical barriers and paved the way for global collaboration and integration. All done with a few clicks on our computers.
Unfortunately, a majority of the population on this planet does not have computers or connectivity to the Internet. And the chances of that changing any time soon is probably a distant dream.
The basic principle of Spoken Web lies in creating a system analogous to the World Wide Web using a technology most of us all have in common - speech. Spoken Web helps people create voice sites using a simple telephone, mobile or landline. The user gets a unique phone number which is analogous to a URL and when other users access this voice site they get to hear the content uploaded there. Interestingly, all these voice sites can be interlinked creating a massive network, which can work like the World Wide Web.
Sounds very exciting to me. I could imagine collaboration platforms and social networking platforms emerge in such a spoken web. And in combination with speech recognition and speech synthesis technologies this could even be interlinked with platforms like Twitter. And it might be a further way of overcoming digital divide.
See the website of the IBM India Research Lab for the full article on this project.