The pros and cons of turning Facebook into your phonebook

5 August 2010

This isn't the definitive article as far as we're concerned, but it's certainly a step towards a future where social networks like Facebook are central to every aspect of our lives; in this case, talking on the dog and bone. This new app from Vonage allows owners of iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads and Android-based handsets to call their Facebook contacts - without knowing their phone number. The only condition is that both parties must have downloaded the Vonage app:

So assuming you're on WiFi or have an unlimited data tariff (not as likely as it use to be), you can make free calls - that's nothing new, of course.

Turning your Facebook account into your phonebook throws up two issues; one concerns traction - take the percentage of Facebook users who have a handset-compatible device, are aware of the app and actually download it - and there probably aren't many Facebook friends you can call.

The second is that if your connections on Facebook were really your friends or even individuals you had the slightest interest in talking to, you'd already have their phone number.

Both are issues are likely to be resolved over time; if not through this app, then there's no doubt this functionality will become native to the official Facebook app, and may become a native feature of handsets - Facebook has the sort of reach amongst consumers that makes it viable. And the continuing erosion of personal boundries will invariably mean that collectively we won't worry if distant strangers have more immediate access to us; for some, collecting friends on Facebook is a game, and throwing away access to the minutaie of our lives will continue to occur without giving the matter a second thought.

Thanks to avid Bitterwallet reader Ben for the tip-off

TOPICS:   Mobile   Social Media   Privacy   Gadgets

6 comments

  • Matt J.
    Slightly pointless with Android, it can already sync your Facebook contacts with their phone numbers as standard.
  • jamie
    interesting, skype-ing without skype! and it really isn't pointless for android as it will make calls free if everyone or just 2 people have the app. or and you use wifi/3G inclusive data! Nice bit of kit!
  • Ben
    I found this. Also, not pointless with Android. Both facebook and android apps aggregate numbers to contacts. This allows contact with those whose numbers you don't have. The original point of the article is valid though - why would you not have their number if you want to speak to them? The answer is in a paradigm shift, that this app is the beginning of. It's good for international friends (but then, so is skype), but it's the start of having a "personal number" for close friends, and easier modes of access to the second and third tiers of friends and aquaintances. /boring More donut burgers, anyone?
  • Mark H.
    Well you can shove Facebook up your arse as far as I am concerned.
  • Paul S.
    Hat-tip added Ben! Cheers.
  • Sideysid
    Or just download a SIP application for VOIP and phone most landline numbers in the world for free of people you would actually want to talk to

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