WSJ.com – Facebook Adding Music Services
Facebook has announced that they will soon allow services such as Rdio Inc. and Spotify AB to create applications to run on the social networking site. This will allow users to listen and share music and movies without ever leaving Facebook – driving up the already ridiculous average amount of time users spend on the site per day. I remember thinking in 2006, “Facebook is going down.” I have clearly been proved wrong again and again. They’ve gone from a site that commanded an allure no one quite understood, with revenue streams no one quite understood, to a site with millions of users, billions of dollars, and opportunities abound.
That said, there are two concepts so far unseen in Facebook that I would drive towards were I Zuckerberg:
1) Facebook is all about communication, but lacks telephony. Yes, voice and video are certainly on their way to Facebook’s offering, but it has taken them a surprisingly long time to embrace these core avenues of communication – and I don’t think it’s enough. Full telephony integration would take the novelty out of the limiting computer-to-computer service offered by Skype (a partner of Facebook), and would really make Facebook a central communication hub for people. What am I referring to by “full telephony integration”? Everyone has a number of phones: office lines, cell phones, home phones, etc… These all come with their own unique phone number. A person should have only one phone number, it should ring every device according to their preference, and it should include the ability to “ring” their computer. An incoming call would ring your cell, office line, and Facebook (if they offered this). If a user on Facebook initiates a call to another user, it should not only offer Facebook-to-Facebook voice chat, it should ring their cell and home lines in case they’re not online.
2) But what if they’re not on the Facebook site? How would it ring your computer then? Facebook should build themselves into the browser. Though difficult, it is quite possible to build an add-on or plug-in for browsers so that, regardless of what site is currently open, an application or service can be running in the background. Take Teledini - all of the services I have described above make up the offering that makes Teledini a unique service. We have built a phone directly into the browser. It can be minimized or maximized, and lives in the “status bar” at the bottom of your screen. No matter where you’re currently browsing, your unique Teledini phone number will ring all of your devices as well as your browser – popping up the add-on to show an incoming call. While that is cool, it leaves out the really important part: the widget architecture. Sites like Facebook or Twitter could build “widgets” allowing users to access all of their services directly from the add-on. One could be browsing the Wall Street Journal and simply maximize Teledini to see their friends’ latest status updates, or post a link to the article they’re reading. This eliminates the need to always have a tab dedicated to Facebook (or Twitter, etc…), because everything you need exists in a “widget” at the bottom of your screen. This describes true unified communications. Facebook, Twitter, chat, voice-mails, telephony – it all exists and is easily accessible from a simple browser add-on.
Facebook could spend the man-hours and money on trying to develop a proprietary service like the one described above, or they could simply integrate their service with Teledini. Think of a widget like an iPhone application – 3rd party developers need only create a widget for Teledini and it can be offered to our users through a Widget Store much like the App Store. Though I apologize for definitely getting a little “sales-ish”, I haven’t mentioned an integral part. When a communication event occurs (a chat, email, an incoming call, etc…), Teledini pops up and the widgets update to show you the caller’s information. You get a call and instantly see that person’s Facebook profile, latest tweets, or even their local weather – the applications are only limited by a widget developer’s imagination. It seems a little creepy, but with the right privacy controls, this concept provides the user with the kind of relevant, call-specific information that makes conventional caller ID seem archaic.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading this increasingly long article. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@Teledini), and feel free to send me a message if you would like an invitation to test out Teledini’s alpha version. We’re making a lot of headway with some promising VCs and plan to offer our service to the public in the coming months.
- Max McChesney