Chirp, a London-based technology company that lets you transfer data between devices using nothing but audio clips, has announced it’s opening its platform to developers as it looks to increase the uptake of the underlying technology.
Available for Android and iOS, Chirp made headlines back in 2012 with its quirky data-transfer technology that uses a “digital birdsong” only identifiable by Chirp on other devices. Just select a compatible file from your phone, click the “chirp” button, and other devices receive the media instantly.
Each “chirp” lasts a couple of seconds, and the receiving device “listens” for a handful of notes played quickly in a certain order, in a certain range, and at a certain speed. While there are other “easy” ways of sharing files and data in real-time, such as Bluetooth, Chirp doesn’t require devices to “pair” in advance, there is no need to set up an account, and it’s ultimately a much quicker way of sharing files.
With the launch of its software development kit (SDK) in private beta today, this signals Chirp’s move to become a platform for third-party developers — and this could prove pivotal for Chirp to significantly ramp up the use of its technology. Indeed, any app that offers any kind of content-sharing functionality can leverage Chirp to make things that little more easier, be it URLs, e-tickets, or videos.
With that in mind, Chirp for iOS has been given a notable update today, as it now lets users chirp videos too, having previously been restricted to images, notes, and URLs. Based on our tests “video chirps” work flawlessly, and given the rise of mobile video, this upgrade could prove a valuable link in Chirp’s chain.
Next week also heralds a milestone moment for Chirp, as the company shakes off its mobile roots and launches a Chrome plugin that will take its technology onto Macs and PCs via the browser. This will let users chirp webpages to their phones, and is an easy way of grabbing map URLs, phone numbers, or other information.
Chirp’s technology is certainly very smart, and its first foray into licensing its technology out indicates how it intends to make money in the long-term. For now, however, Chirp is exploring other conduits to ensure it has capital at its disposal — today it opened a crowdfunding campaign through Crowdcube, and at the time of writing it’s already reached half of its target £400,000 ($630,000) goal. All funds will be used to support commercial expansion and develop the Chirp platform.
“We’re a small company with big ambitions – we’re creating an internet made of sound and we’re delighted how people have embraced Chirp to share information,” says founder and creator Patrick Bergel. “It’s even more exciting to have a long waiting list of developers wanting to get their hands on our SDK, so their apps can sing too.”
Chirp’s an effective way of sharing data with multiple people at the same time — as long as their phone is within audio range of the sender. This means it could also be used over mass broadcast networks such as TV and radio to send files to millions of people in seconds. However, it could also connect with physical objects such as toys, letting children download content from sound clips embedded in their favorite teddy.
This is enabled through a just-announced tie-up with Arduino, an open-source computer electronics platform for hackers and prototypers. It means that Chirp encoders are available for the burgeoning “Internet of Things” industry, and could be included in any number of objects in the future. “Chirpino,” as the service is called, is being released tomorrow (May 13) as a free download.
Spun out from the University College London (UCL) back in 2011, Chirp now has 12 employees and recently brought in Richard Mann, former COO of Mobile Interactive Group (MIG), as its new CEO.