If your Facebook friends have smart phones, a new app launched by Vonage today means you can call them for free. The Vonage Mobile application for Facebook lets you call your Facebook friends for free anywhere in the world, as long as they also have the app.
Unlike with services such as Skype, the integration with Facebook means there’s no need to dial or remember a separate screen name – users can just click on a friend within Facebook and start talking. When placing a call, the friend’s profile picture and status update display on the screen. The phone rings for an incoming call, even if the app is closed.
The downloadable app is available for Android phones in 48 countries and for iPhone or iPod Touch (iPad version coming soon) in 87 countries. It’s available at the Vonage fan page on Facebook or vonage.com/talkfree, as well as the iTunes store and Android market, and is free to get and use. The service works over Wi-Fi and 3G /4G networks in most countries.
Vonage chief executive Marc Lefar said the company planned to expand the service in the future. “This is just the start,” he said. ” In the future we will expand on this service to include a wide range of integrated voice and messaging services that change the way people communicate.”
It seems paying for phone calls could soon be a thing of the past. However, if you don’t have an unlimited data plan, you’d best check with your carrier to see if any charges apply.
Vonage has a video demonstrating how the app works, which we’ve embedded below.
Facebook’s privacy settings are one of the most discussed features of Facebook and today the company has announced that those settings can now be controlled on mobile devices. While I believe those privacy settings were still previously implemented when users posted from mobile devices, users can now control their privacy on mobile devices. This should not be confused with a new set of privacy settings however, despite the large official announcement from Facebook.
The reality is that an increasing number of Facebook users only access the site on their mobile devices which means any of the site functionality which wasn’t previously available on those devices will gradually become available. For those who are wondering, it doesn’t appear that the privacy settings are available on Facebook’s iPhone and Android applications yet, although I’d assume it will be added in the near future.
You can view the settings immediately by viewing the mobile version of the site here.
It appears a glitch on Facebook temporarily removed President Obama’s status update from earlier today. Either that or a member of Obama’s staff got a little trigger-happy and posted the news prematurely on Facebook. The update, which first appeared at 1:10 p.m. EST, stated, “Thank you for the birthday card and the well-wishes. It means so much to receive kind words from so many people.”
Within the first 12 minutes of being live, the update was averaging 1,000 interactions per minute - putting it on a blistering pace to likely be the most popular status update on Facebook for today. Checking back an hour later revealed the status update has been removed without explanation. Instead of the cheerful thank you from earlier, the most recent status update was a call-to-action for voters in November.
Fast forward another ten minutes, and the status update has now reappeared with over 31,000 interactions in approximately one hour. It remains to be seen as to why the status update temporarily disappeared and we’ll continue to keep an eye on it throughout the day.
Want to view 100 photos on a single page? Not sure why you would, however Facebook is currently testing a new format for albums which does exactly that. It’s part of a number of upgrades that the Facebook Photos team is testing since recently acquiring Divvyshot back in April.
Early last month Facebook began pushing out a facial recognition feature and since then we’ve been receiving more reports about the feature from users. All of these features are part of a continuous improvement of the Photos application which single-handedly accounts for a large percentage of the time users spend on the site. The other area where users are spending time is within Games, which would explain why the company is pushing so hard for expansion of the Facebook Credits product.
Additionally, when a user views an album in this larger format, additional photos are automatically displayed as the user scrolls down the page. It’s a small change however it has a dramatic impact on the layout of Facebook Photos. Are you seeing this new layout?
Last night YouTube’s Facebook page got its 10 millionth “like”. That means that YouTube is more popular than Christiano Ronaldo, Music, Coca-Cola and even Justin Bieber, who currently holds the most-viewed video on YouTube. YouTube’s staff is thanking the Facebook users that “Like” them with a resounding, “We like you, too!” which you can see in the video after the jump.
Have you ever noticed how Gmail displays the number of messages you have unread in your inbox within the browser tab? Facebook has begun doing something similar. Facebook will display the combined number of friend requests, inbox messages, and notifications within the browser tab, in order to keep the user up to date on any changes. It’s also a subtle change which ends up driving the user back to the tab.
Facebook is well known for making small changes to the site and this is no different. Given that most active internet users have multiple tabs open at a single time, it’s difficult to know when or if it’s necessary to go back to Facebook. While many people are addicted to Facebook and want to view continuous updates, the most important aspect is notifications, requests, and messages, all of which engage the user directly.
Now that the count is displayed you don’t need to check back regularly. Instead, you can simply navigate over to the page each time the counter is updated. Are you a fan of the new feature?
Facebook Search Article
The internet is often vaunted as a productivity booster but it seems U.S. web users spend nearly a quarter of their online time on blogs and social networks such as Facebook.
A Nielsen study found that social networking takes up 23% of American’s online time, with Facebook accounting for 85% of that. The next biggest categories were games at 10% and email at 8%.
Web users are spending more time than ever on social networks - at the expense of other activities. This time a year ago, the same Nielsen study found social networking accounted for 16% of U.S. web users time, while email, then the second most popular online activity, took a 12% share. In total Americans spend more than a third of their online time (36%) communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging.
Videos and movies was the other sector to experience significant growth - its share of activity grew from 3.5% to 3.9% over the past year, a 12% rise based on the raw numbers. In June 2010 the number of videos streamed passed the 10 billion mark.
It’s a different story in the mobile internet world, where email remains the dominant activity with a 42% share of online time, up from 37% a year ago. Portals are second at 12%, down from 14%, and social networking is third at 11%, up from 8%.
A few weeks ago, we unveiled Facebook ad techniques to leverage the endorsements of your fans– to share their likes with their friends. And we demonstrated that the CTR on an ad showing your friends liking it is a multiple of one without a like. The next logical step is to show your friend’s review in the ad, such as this new format that Facebook started testing over the weekend.
Notice that it not only has your friend’s name linked, but also includes their review and the number of stars. We predict that including the star ratings will significantly increase the ad CTR by another order of magnitude, provided that the rating is 4 stars and above. The same we’ve seen true when users see an application’s average rating on the install screen.
This is a smart move by Facebook, as it makes ads less scammy (hard to cheat the system), emphasizes the core value proposition of Facebook ads (help multiply the love your fans already– among their friends), increases the value of their inventory, and increases Facebook’s ability to monetize.
If you’re a cosmetic surgeon with 500 fans of your page, what would you pay to be able to tell all the friends of those 500 people about the positive experience? What if you’re a terrible doctor? Then this type of advertising might not be effective– nor should any type of advertising be effective if your underlying service isn’t stellar.