Are you tired of waking up to the sound of a blaring alarm clock? Need something more reliable than a wake-up light? What if you could rise to the voice of a soothing stranger? It sounds creepy, but that’s exactly an app for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone enables anyone to do – and according to their website, “anyone” is a whopping 2 million users across 80 different countries right now.
Wakie originally launched as a way for users to make wakeup calls to each other, but has since expanded to a broader chat app where users are encouraged to have anonymous phone calls with random strangers around the world. All calls are processed through the Wakie app, no phone numbers or personal information are exchanged, and conversations are capped at five minutes.
As far as what people talk about, any given user could throw out their own desired topic, they could accept an incoming call from someone who has already chosen their own topic, or they could see that someone is looking for a chat about a particular topic (e.g., What’s it like in Canada?) and choose to kick off a call to provide their perspective.
Of course, I had to give it a whirl.
After opening the app, the Wakie app searched my network for conversation topics. A box popped up in the bottom of the screen showing requests that I could accept or ignore. While many of the requests were playful and G-Rated – like helping someone learn English, cheering someone up, or listening to a song – there certainly were a few options I would have more readily expected on a 1-900 chat line.
While I didn’t have too many conversations, a couple of them were quite interesting, such as the one I had with a person trying to find “a female sasquatch” for his lonely friend. The person explained to me that his friend was a “male sasquatch” who was in desperate need for a mate of similar physical attributes.
I initially suggested they try using Google, but that didn’t work for them. I then suggested Tinder and they seemed eager to explore that alternative. I was happy to engage in the conversation, but ultimately I’m unsure if I was able to help. Those things are notoriously difficult to spot…
The most interesting thing about Wakie is that it allows you to connect with people anywhere. When I was testing the app, I was connected to people in the US, Canada, Turkey, the UK, and many other countries. According to the counter in the app, on average there were around 800 users talking while I was logged in.
One of the likely reasons Wakie is a bit tamer than Chatroulette is the two-way feedback settings; after each call, you can rate the conversation as “so-so” or “cool.” Another interesting feature is that the app supports recording the conversations; if you opt into this feature, conversations are only recorded if the other person approves the setting.
Wakie has raised $3 million in seed funding through three rounds, the most recent of which was just last month.
Charles Costa is a marketing specialist helping technology companies grow, one word at a time. You can learn more at CharlesCosta.net