Crazy Feature request: One of the things I've wanted for years out of a software based walkie-talkie like this is manual audio spacial diversity control (a.k.a. 3D audio). That way I can have multiple simultaneous channels, but be able to change the position (left/right/forward/45deg/etc) and the volume of each feed so I can have situational awareness with all channels while being able to use my brain to separate and focus on a particular channel.
These kinds of systems are often marketed to dispatch agencies, mission control, government/military customers, etc, and are super expensive. I've never seen a consumer-grade version of 3D audio like this, but that would be super beneficial to ad-hoc communicators in disasters, scanner enthusiasts, public event coordinators, county/city-level EOCs that can't afford expensive systems.
I haven't looked at Mumble's actual implementation, but I imagine it's possible with the web audio APIs.
As for webapps, I think Mozilla Hubs does this: https://hubs.mozilla.com/#/
...as does Freeswitch I believe, though I've had a heck of a time trying to get that up and running: https://freeswitch.org/confluence/display/FREESWITCH/mod_con...
Edit: in some ways, this might be totally off-base since it does involve a game and participant self-arrangement. Hopefully it's somewhat relevant, though!
I'm actually going to put a feature back in to let you select the audio "spatialization" model, because some folks have had trouble with PannerNode not working right. I used to have a selection between volume scaling, StereoPannerNode, and PannerNode. Been a little too busy at the day job to do it lately.
Currently re-writing it to be actually decent code. Basically, it takes up streams on the page and arranges speakers in a semi-circle in front of you, letting you adjust the radius (I've found for particular numbers of speakers there's an optimal radius for speaker separation).
If anyone knows of such a thing please let me know. Would be perfect for socialising during quarantine and beyond.
Patents long expired, nowadays smallest $2 microcontroller can run it in real time.
I know it's not really what you are asking for, but it's some very cool spatial audio work, letting you separate out where folks are in a virtual space.
[disclaimer, I know some of the folks working on it]
and see their iOS app: https://appsto.re/us/jrj3hb.i
and the web app: https://cb.virtualairwaves.com/channel/1
They have several patents on "3D Audio" style techniques to give distance cues via the signal:
I do have some questions that the website doesn't answer for me:
1. What about screen sharing? Seeing the word "collaboration" implies to me that I should be able to do so, but it's unclear. In the screenshot of the app, I see an icon or two in the right-hand sidebar that might be relevant to this, but they seem kind of generic.
2. What about mobile devices? I routinely do Slack calls where one or two people are on their phone for various reasons. It would be useful to know if that is supported or will be at some point.
3. I want to know more about the encryption. As you're probably aware, there has been a lot of controversy over the security of Zoom. In particular, there is an ongoing lawsuit related to their false claims of end-to-end encryption.  I think any new product, especially a chat app, that claims to be end-to-end encrypted really needs to show us the details of its protocol and stack, and ideally open source as many parts of that as possible. Does it use the Signal protocol? The site says "Squawk groups are invite-only and end-to-end encrypted." But which parts are E2E encrypted? The group membership? The message content? The message metadata? Everything?
Lastly, it would be great if you could add the app to Homebrew Cask, as it's my preferred way to download and manage apps on macOS.
1. Screen sharing is next on our list, it's the thing that we want most ourselves.
2. This is definitely not mobile optimized. It does work-ish on mobile phones, but it maintains long-lived webrtc connections so it's not ideal (we ensure these are not transmitting when muted, but we have a keep alive protocol which ensures they don't die, and would be harsh on mobile batteries).
3. Squawk uses webrtc, which is e2e encrypted by default. Additionally, we don't use any SFUs so we never have the audio unencrypted. All link negotiation and audio transmission are done entirely p2p and thus completely e2e encrypted.
That sounds like a nightmare to be honest. How will you ever reach any level of concentration this way? Even the thought that someone could just start talking to you would probably ruin your chances at getting in any sort of flow.
Also, it feels like only a small step away from a form of work surveillance. "Where were you? I was talking to you on Squawk".
Unless my assumptions of what this is are completely wrong. There isn't much to go on on the page.
<sarcasm>It's only like 15 minutes to get back on task after every single interruption. That won't hamper productivity at all. Much more important for me to get instant answers and boredom reduction whenever i feel like it. </sarcasm>
If that's not a problem you face, then Squawk is definitely the wrong tool for you.
Either that, or you are solving 'that problem' the wrong way.
Part of this is cultural (you wouldn't constantly shout at your colleague in person across the desk) but there are per-group and global mute buttons when you need peace and quiet. Everyone else can see that you're muted.
The heavy lifting is done P2P falling back to our TURN servers if NAT traversal is necessary.
Another thing I'd like to know before considering downloading the app is system requirements. A lot of people aren't on the latest version of Windows/MacOS yet.
I ended up having to compile from master what was a very recently merged feature to Mumble: https://github.com/mumble-voip/mumble/pull/4011
Any plans to provide the functionality as an add-on for other communications apps?
I hear the frustration of downloading another thing - I've changed the landing page to make clear you can access in your browser at https://app.squawk.to
It doesn't have the e2e stuff afaik, but works on all major platforms, including mobile. They also have a native desktop app (not Electron). As far as I know, it's used a lot, mostly by drivers for Uber or similar services. I haven't used it for a couple of years now, but it's worth giving it a go.
> We're writing to let you know that the group you tried to contact (hello) may not exist, or you may not have permission to post messages to the group. A few more details on why you weren't able to post:
> * You might have spelled or formatted the group name incorrectly.
> * The owner of the group may have removed this group.
> * You may need to join the group before receiving permission to post.
> * This group may not be open to posting.
Looks like google apps group configuration issue.
Related support article:
It could get annoying if its on all day, SOMA FM provides an interesting police scanner with audio mix which is an oddly relaxing soundtrack
Are you going to add some jargon, the stuff that made CB radio kooky back in the day?
You should fix your meta description tag on the landing page :) I just pasted it into slack and got a...less than useful preview.
Also: similar (from yesterday I think) https://www.walkie.chat/
Is it possible to mark yourself as away? I could see it might encourage the expectation to always be present on the receiving end.
The homepage describes it has push-to-talk; is muting yourself distinct from not pushing?
The push-to-talk is on the sending side. So when you're not pushing, your mic is muted. And when you click the mute button, your speakers are muted.
How sustainable is this project? I see it's not open sourced, but there is no pricing page either?
Also, how are the connections made, P2P or through a central intermediate server?
Squawk is webrtc based (audio and data) so it's mostly p2p (except for tracking the swarm).
"Aptonic app landing page template helps you easily create websites for mobile apps, product landing, promotion and many more."
I linked to your landing page in Slack and that is what showed up
Can you select a particular group to use PTT?
We're contemplate auto-muting other groups when you have incoming audio. Would love to hear your thoughts as well.
But it's just like a walkie talkie: press the group you want to talk to, and everyone hears you.
At the top of the page, under "Push-to-Talk Collaboration", it says "Squawk delivers instant team chat".
That line specifically confused me heavily. That line makes it sound like this is the feature your product is delivering. But MS Teams already has instant team chat functionality. What does this mean then?
Aside from this, I love the idea and the implementation of your product. Haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but I definitely have a strong urge to do so now.
EDIT: Looks like I was misled by the title of the HN submission. I thought this was a walkie-talkie plug-in for MS Teams (mostly because of "Teams" in the title being capitalized), not a standalone product (which it, turns out, is). Please ignore my original request regarding the website. Still excited to give your product a try, probably even more now, after finding out it is a standalone product.
Also just noticed the second download link lower down the page doesn’t work.
Download link fixed...thanks!
Do you have plans on releasing a binary for Linux?
Yeah we definitely will release linux (it's electron based so no reason to leave linux out). It works better as an app but you can also access it in browser at https://app.squawk.to
Technically speaking, probably very similar: Squawk is webrtc based and fully end-to-end encrypted.
How do you verify that you are connected to the person you think you are connected to?