T-Mobile released a Facebook app today, one that will allow anyone to use VoIP to make calls to Facebook friends. No longer will you have to open Skype or FaceTime to call your friends, and you were already on Facebook anyway. So, everyone is a winner. Right?
Perhaps that is how T-Mobile’s thought process went when it decided to have Vivox make the browser-based VoIP app for them. Time will tell how effective it actually is, but it is hard to imagine Facebook users not being at least tempted to click the call button to have a chat with friends they have not spoken to in years. Moreover, T-Mobile’s research study revealed that 88% of Facebook users want it.
In order to make that first call, users need only to log on to Facebook, go to the “Bobsled by T-Mobile” page and install the app. It currently requires Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, or Microsoft Internet Explorer. It failed to recognize my Chromium installation as “Google Chrome”, which means it is using a crude detection system, something that will definitely need fixing as the number and complexity of support devices grows.
The new technology is part of T-Mobile’s Sidekick 4G promotion, which includes Cloud Text, something that allows users to text from Facebook as well. Everyone can use Bobsled, even non-T-mobile customers, but it is not too much of a stretch to envision the Sidekick 4G having custom Bobsled integration.
Among the other features in the plans for Boblsed are the ability to call mobile and land line phone numbers and video chat, both of which put T-Mobile directly in the sights of Google and Skype, each offering similar VoIP services. Could this be yet another sign of Facebook’s dominance on the web?