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Verizon has a new service called Facetones, a mobile app that creates and displays a video slideshow of your friends’ Facebook photos whenever a call from them comes in or you call them.  The app, which syncs your phone’s contact list with your Facebook friend list, is created by Vringo, a provider of software platforms for mobile social and mobile video services. The app is available on the Verizon VCAST app store.  It is also available as an Android app and soon will make its way to the Apple app store.  The app first appeared in the Android store this May.

Facetones is described to “initially” connect with Facebook.  What other social media sites does Vringo have in mind for future integrations?  Jon Medved, CEO of Vringo, answered my question:

“We’ve not released a specific roadmap or release dates as of yet, but consumers could expect to see Facetones expanding its social reach to where it may be able to link to multiple sources of social information about your friends.  Candidates for this kind of integration could include Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter or photo sites.”

It seems an obvious choice for photo sites would be Flickr, which would have the possibility of creating really cool slideshows of all sort of different things based on the caller’s interests.

“In 2006, phone personalization was based on simply selecting a ringtone,” said Medved. “However, we felt that just hearing your phone ring was outdated.  We identified this vacuum and decided that the screen should display meaningful visual content when receiving an incoming call.  At first we did this through our Video Ringtone App (Vringo) which allows an extra layer of personalization and further integrates the social element by enabling your video ringtone to play on your friend’s device when you call them.  This we termed VringForward and it’s a patented technology and industry first.”

Vringo identified a hole in the market that they could easily fill.  Their observations and predictions of the Smartphone and mobile market continued to be spot on.

“We predicted that visual content such as photos and videos would play a major part in the social platform evolution.  Additionally, we understood that phones, however smart they become, remain phones and the key activity for consumers is still the phone call. However, the consumer can be well-engaged with visual and social opportunities during those focused moments during the phone call.  This is how Facetones was born.”

It reminds me of the information I see when using rapportive.com in my Gmail account.  Rapportive adds social media data to the right sidebar of the Gmail window so you can see information about the person with whom you are communicating: a picture, their latest tweets, LinkedIn data – it’s all there.  It’s as if your memory for names and faces just improved when you use tools like this.

At Journyx, we’re investigating ways to apply this kind of idea to project management and group collaboration technologies.  There are also many opportunities to integrate these ideas into sales and marketing capabilities. Have you done anything like this?

Have you downloaded Facetones?  Does having a video slideshow make your call a more engaging experience?

Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx.  Find out more on the Journyx blog.

Last updated: Oct 18, 2011




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