First up was iotum's Conference Calling feature for Facebook users. Now FWD has unveiled what I'd like to call FaceMail, a new VoiceMail service for FaceBook users.
This is good for those that spend all their life in FaceBook, but like Skype voice mail, it isn't portable yet so it means having to go to another place to listen to more messages versus having them all in one place (Grand Central, CommuniKate, Ring Central) which is and has been the mantra of those in the unified messaging space for years and not "diversified messaging" which both FaceMail and Skype Voice Mail fall into.
What does it need?
1) An RSS Feed for Each Message. That way those who use feed readers get notified. This would be a great tool for inbound call centers or group support teams.
2) The ability for the message to be fed to GrandCentral. Let's face it, with so much going on in the world of mashups, Google and GC are poised to be at the epicenter.
3) A presence feature, one that reads my status ala iotum and then routes the call via GrandCentral to where I want to be called so after listening to the message I can TALK to the party which left the message
3) Playback-Oh, once the message is in GrandCentral I could play the message back and hear it when I call in and then have the option of either leaving a reply message in FaceBook or CALLING THE PERSON BACK in real time.
4) Audio Attachment sent with email. For those who use new Blackberries or Windows Mobile devices and can play audio attachments this is a big need. What good is knowing you have a message if you have to then surf to get it. For the we need it now crowd this is essential
5) And for the Twitter crowd it needs to notify them, the same way it should hit logged on IM clients that a new FaceMail has arrived.
Candidly I'm getting tired of all these so called collaboration applications that put one more barrier up, when they break another barrier down. That is not collaboration, it is another way to do something that already works. In my view we don't need more places where voice mail messages are being left. We need fewer, but more ways to get that message to the intended recipient.
Don't get me wrong. FaceMail by FWD is a great first effort to add voice mail to FaceBook, but to be both more useful and it needs to go beyond the walled garden of Facebook by offering much more in the way of functionality. Right now, FaceMail is just another me too, me also offering, but only a different place. That doesn't cut it in my book, even if I think it is cool.
This is the difference between the iotum Conference Calling app which does cross that line, and brings people together in a collaborative manner, inside and outside of Facebook. It isn't dependent on anything other than a phone of some sort, IP, PSTN, Mobile or to be invented in the future. That's "me different."