This week, Facebook released a new app that may or may not change the face of communications (no pun intended): it enables you to make voice calls from your desktop or smartphone.
No, it’s not a video call. It’s a “free” voice call.
Which means, really, that Facebook can now be “Voicebook.”
Just like a telephone.
I recognize that there is some merit in being able to glide somewhat seamlessly between a Facebook chat or poke and a voice call, and I recognize, as well, that universe of apps includes galaxies of really useful ones (I have one that measures the pitch of whatever you set the tablet on) and not-so-useful ones (but who am I to criticize; someone, somewhere, needs an app for that). And, this article from the New York Times notes the target market of teens who might find this more convenient (lazy?) than actually dialing numbers (even speed dialing) to speak with their friends. Read more
Broadcasting and Cable and TR Daily each published articles on June 18 highlighting efforts by Consumers Union, the Center for Digital Democracy and other consumer and children’s health advocacy organizations urging Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook to adopt strong privacy and child safety/parental control safeguard settings into Facebook. Read more
Sometime last year, probably in Wisconsin Rapids, I locked myself out of Facebook. My best reconstructive guess is that the hotel’s unfamiliar IP address prompted a series of security questions, which I failed, and which ultimately locked my account. Yesterday, however (and on a lark), I recalled some of the obscure answers. I checked in, explained my absence, posted five pictures and left.
About a year ago, someone proposed that rural telecom advocacy could be advanced by admonishing policy-makers to imagine what it would be like to live without Facebook for 24 hours. Or, more specifically, what it would be like to live with teenagers who did not have access to Facebook for 24 hours. Well, I managed it for 14 months, and since I didn’t end up living in a cave without a haircut, my hunch is that there are more compelling and sophisticated reasons to affirm the commitment to nationwide broadband deployment. Read more
Last week, VoIP provider JaJah released the first mobile calling service for Facebook. JaJah is not only first out-of-the-gate with a solution, but its boasting that calls can be placed for free.
Here’s how it works. The initiating caller downloads the JaJah Facebook application. The user launches Facebook on their smartphone and selects any contact currently listed as “active” in their online friends list. The contact then receives a call notification through a Facebook chat instant message, which also includes a link. To accept the call request, the receiving party clicks on the link and a browser opens to initiate the call.
JaJah says that the only cost for users relates to operators potentially charging for a local call; however, in most cases, this is typically deducted in terms of minutes from overall monthly wireless service plans.
So far the application is only available for Android smartphone users, although an iPhone version is in the works as well, with no firm release date in sight.
Facebook is the most widely accepted social networking platform in use today with more than 500 million active users. For many people, Facebook is their preferred address book and increasingly their entertainment destination.
For more, see this release.
Warner Brothers announced last week that it is testing a new program that will offer select movies for sale or rental through its public Facebook pages.
Warner Brothers rolled out the new service last week with the launch of a popular title. Currently, Facebook users who visit the official page of “Batman: The Dark Knight” can pay 30 Facebook credits (worth $3) to stream the movie. Facebook Credits is an alternative payment option supported by more than 150 games and applications on the social network.
Renters have access to the movie for 48 hours and can replay it as many times as they like. Warner Brothers said it will add other movies in coming months but did not release any additional titles, or how much it will cost to buy movies.