TalkTo is a free mobile app that enables Android and iPhone users to text any business -- just as they would a friend.
The texting app's main value is avoiding time-consuming phone calls when placing orders, making reservations, or inquiring about store hours or other aspects of the business.
TalkTo is also a web application that works on any computer with Internet access. The app syncs text messages across all mobile devices, enabling users to access responses throughout the day.
Though not designed as assistive technology, TalkTo can make communicating with businessres easier for persons with speech difficulties. Persons who are blind or visually impaired can listen to texts read aloud using Apple's VoiceOver.
To use TalkTo, enter the business name and type a question. TalkTo delivers the message and provides a response. If business is closed, the response comes once it reopens -- eliminating the need to set reminders or to send multiple texts.
TalkTo works in the background to find the best way to message a business, e.g. chat, SMS, email, or, if need be, telephone. TalkTo tracks responsiveness to gauge customer service and engagement.
Millions of local businesses are already accessible via TalkTo. Businesses can also customize how they receive customer messages.
TalkTo, backed by Matrix Partners, is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its texting apps debuted as finalists at the TechCrunch Disrupt 2011 conference.