Castlingo is a Simple Way to Share News and Expertise with Alexa and Google Assistant Users

Castlingo is a new product launched a couple of weeks ago by Witlingo. It is positioned as the “simplest way to microcast on Alexa.” Think of a microcast as a mini-podcast. Or, you could say that microcasting is to podcasting what Twitter is to blogging. A Castlingo allows up to 77 seconds of audio and just enough time to discuss one or two key topics. It can be an interactive Alexa skill, Google Action or Flash Briefing. Voicebot recently announced we had launched all three formats using the new service.

How Does Castlingo Work?

To use the service, you first need to go to the Castlingo webpage and register. Here are the steps to create a custom Alexa skill.

  1. You start by signing in with a Google account.
  2. Then a form asks you to enter your name, business name and select an industry.
  3. You then select a name for your Alexa skill from the list of suggested names or you can scroll to the bottom and enter your own.
  4. After that, you enter a description and click submit.
  5. The Witlingo team then reviews your submission and if necessary will send you a form so you can validate what will be submitted to the Alexa skill store.
  6. After approval, Witlingo submits your Castlingo for certification.
  7. Your Alexa skill will be live a few days later.
  8. In the interim, you download a mobile app for iOS or Android and record one or more “casts” and click submit. This is the content that will be live when your skill is certified and available as an Alexa skill. The video below shows how the recording process works.

It takes about two minutes to fill out the registration form and just a couple of minutes more to download the app and record your first “cast.” Some example Castlingo skills include Santa’s Log, The Noelle Show, Paul Cutsinger Casting, or Voicebot Says. Voicebot Says is available on both Alexa and Google Assistant.

Castlingo Options for Free and Paid Versions

Users can launch a Castlingo Alexa skill for free and publish up to 20-times per month. For $9.95 per month, that number increases to 60 casts per month and there is an unlimited tier for $49.95 per month. There is also an option for a Google Action which requires a $99.95 set-up fee and an entry-level monthly cost of $14.95 that also includes a comparable Alexa skill. You can set up your own Castlingo and see all pricing options here.

The Origin of Castlingo

Witlingo Founder Dr. Ahmed Bouzid

Castlingo launched about three weeks ago and Witlingo appears to have already launched about 50 Alexa skills using the product. Voicebot caught up with Witlingo founder Dr. Ahmed Bouzid to learn more about the origin of Castlingo.

What was the inspiration behind Castlingo?

I’ve been in the SaaS voice business for 15 years and voice in general for more than 20 years. The notion of enabling anyone to share persisting voice-only content has always struck me as the next iteration of mainstream content creation after text and the visual.  Imagine a conversational voice web whose content is generated by people who know things so that one can simply ask and listen to answers. In my previous roles, I worked on delivering various versions of this — via telephone (you record your audio by phone and listen to other people’s audios by phone), then via mobile (record and listen via mobile), but with EFHF (eyes free hands free) smart speakers, we are getting closer to the conversational web. Castlingo is a step towards helping realize that vision.

How did you approach Castlingo differently from the other Alexa skills and Google Actions you have launched?

Castlingo is a platform offering. We had to build a mobile app for easy content creation, a service for processing audio, a layer of intelligence to enable the tagging and searching of audio, a wizard to enable people to order a skill in a couple of steps, with some other components coming up as we get feedback from real users.  The key driving tenet throughout has been simplicity–in content creation and consumption.

Why the 77-second limit?

Simply because the current limitation imposed by Alexa on custom skills on how long one can retain a turn before ceding it is 90 seconds.  But as per Marshall McLuhan’s observation that the medium is the message, the limitation is resulting in interesting content: short and to the point interviews, tiny stories, information that can be chopped into stand-alone units (like a glossary), etc.  It’s fascinating to see a whole new form of content emerge.


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