With the recent release of Facebook's "Platform" for applications (see here for more info and links), my first thought, naturally, was... so what VoIP apps are in there? Given that Facebook is being used as a email/IM/messaging platform by so many, the linkage into voice seems logical. Oddly, when I went to Facebook's "Application Directory" and searched (using the "Search Apps" box) on either "voip" or "voice" I wound up with no applications! However, there clearly are some voice applications in there. Through some browsing, I discovered these (note that the first links on each line will only work if you are logged into Facebook):
- WalkieTalkie - private voice chat for a Facebook group. If everyone in the group installs it, they can all participate in a group "conference call".
- Tag - from the same developer as WalkieTalkie, this is for one-to-one voice chat and leaving messages.
- Chatterbox - lets other users leave a voice message on your Facebook profile.
- VoicePlayer from Snapvine - let's users leave voice comments on your Facebook profile
- Msg-Time - same idea... you can leave voice messages
- Free World Phone from Jaxtr - call-back service that calls users on their existing phones... also includes voice messaging and ability to keep your phone number
There is also an app listed for Jangl that doesn't seem to be available if you click on the link. But again, this is another call-back service that lets you keep your number private and use your existing phone.
All of these are interesting in various different ways, especially to me the WalkieTalkie and Tag apps as they would appear to be actual VoIP, but there does seem to be something missing here:
Where are the VoIP apps that go outside the Facebook walls?
Now, maybe I missed them (and feel free to leave me a comment telling me so), but it seems to me that it would be a logical thing to allow people to initiate voice conversations from within Facebook to various VoIP services, similar to what Xing is already doing with both Skype and also with regular phone numbers (through a conferencing service). Skype is one obvious choice, but an app that did straight SIP (hmm... "Gizmo for Facebook") would be very interesting as well. Or connected to one of the other IM services that include voice (Microsoft WLM, GoogleTalk, AIM, Yahoo!Voice)... or that played well with open source VoIP like Asterisk... or that connected to one of the enterprise VoIP or consumer VoIP services.
The question really is... who will be the first one to offer an app that lets you use your existing VoIP services from within the Facebook walls? And through those services gives you PSTN connectivity? We'll see...
(Hint: Given my next post, Skype's probably a good contender.)