When I first came across Pinger, I was intrigued. It's billed as "text messaging for your voice," which conjured images in my mind of a free, accurate transcription program. I would love to dictate my text messages; it would be like having a miniature secretary in your phone.
Pinger allows users to send quick mobile-to-mobile voice messages. After setting up a free account, you call into Pinger's service, say the name of the contact you want to reach, and record your message. The service then shoots a text notification (standard text rates apply) to the recipient, who then must dial into Pinger's service to hear the message. Does it sound very similar to regular voice mail? Well, it kind of is.
The major difference is that you can send a Pinger voice message to groups of people. Let's say you want to let your staff know how the latest meeting went, or tell a group of friends which bar to meet at. Instead of calling each person individually, you can send one Pinger voice message to the whole gang. Sure, you could just send the group a mass text, but then they would be denied the rich timbre of your voice.
You can send voice messages from the Web site if you have a microphone with your PC, and it's very easy to import your Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, and other contacts as well.
On the downside, I don't know how big of a market this service can get. Sending a Pinger voice message is a snap once you've set up your account, but it's not that great of an experience on the other side. Listening to a Pinger voice message requires the recipient to read the text message, dial the service, and then finally hear the message. It's slower than what most people are used to--it's faster to convey your point through a standard text message or voice mail.
Pinger is free, however, and could be good for getting the word out to a large group. It could also be useful when you don't want to get into a conversation, but you still want the recipient to hear the emotion in your voice.