December 17, 2008

mobile facebook update (and hints at other things)...

my, my, my... how time does fly. has it really been since august that i last posted? well, i guess there's been no shortage of change going down in my world - but more on that in the not-too-distant future... for now, on to business:

accessing facebook from a mobile device is hardly novel and certainly not limited to any particular device vender. indeed, you can point any device with a browser to and away you go. beyond that, there are multiple java-based or other clients available that come installed on or are downloadable to your device, some of which may be a bit more graphically-elegant than a browser-based solution. whatever the case, all are functional, in their own ways.

with the above as context, and given my historical penchant for posting on s60 devices (e.g. primarilly nokia symbian-based), i thought i'd offer a quick-and-dirty on a couple of alternatives i've been messing with.

first off, we've got the new facebook widset from nokia. not bad. not bad at all actually. simple and elegant UI - the facebook logo across top with tabs for home, profile, friends and inbox (device screenshot below). as for functionality, you've got pretty much the basics you'd expect in order to maintain presence in your social network - latest friend requests, messages, status updates, etc.; access to your and your friends' basic profile data, mini-feeds, pictures and walls; ability to update your status on-the-go as well as to engage in threaded messaging; and - somewhat novel - the ability to upload snapshots from your mobile's camera directly to your facebook profile (as opposed to cross posting through whichever service you might be using). again, not bad at all...

the process for getting yourself set up is pretty simple. go to, register yourself, choose which widsets you want to have resident on your device (facebook is only one option), download the widsets client to your s60 device, launch it, sign-in to facebook and you're live.

for a slight twist on the facebook theme, check out the buddycloud solution - (thanks for the heads up chanse). this has got some promise as an extension of the mobile facebook experience (twitter as well), if they can get critical mass participation - a not insignificant challenge.

as a standalone application, buddycloud bills itself as a "mobile social location platform" that allows you and others in your community/communities to share status, location and proximity (cool) between mobiles and beyond, e.g. with simple plugins for facebook and twitter. there are a couple of cool elements here: one, the geolocationing solution is good-old-fashioned cell-ID triangulation (assisted by gps, wifi and bluetooth according to buddycloud, but nonesuch seem to have evidenced themselves in my trialling). another: once installed on your device, the buddycloud client absorbs your phone contacts into its interface, allowing you to click on a contact and choose to call or "send my place" (or otherwise solicit to the world of buddycloud). the app also allows for a rich range of friend, group or community customization, and, quite cool for the multi-platform social networking/messaging fanatic, it supports chat with any jabber client (e.g. gtalk, etc.). and, as for the facebook plugin (i didn't test the twitter version), simple, basic, graceful - one of many ways to adjust and communicate your status and location to your social network (image of FB plugin and device launch screen below).

launch screen on an s60 device

facebook plug-in as appears on profile page

like the facebook widset, getting up-and-running on buddycloud is a simple process of registration and quick client install, from either your mobile or PC. gotta reiterate something here: as just a facebook (or twitter) extension, buddycloud may not have very long legs (beyond perhaps some alternative application of its platform) - after all, while it's great at pushing info to facebook or twitter, it's basic promise is another new community and, frankly, barring some amazing new twist on the concept, users aren't looking for yet more new communities. but, all of that said, if buddycloud does somehow succeed in building a critical mass of users, then they could indeed have something here (if nothing else, a higher price for that alternative application of its platform).

what's it all mean in the end? short and sweet: more simplification of and potential value-added experience related to the mobile extention to the internet. cool, sure. but neither of these is terribly earthshaking. indeed, i'm still chasing whatever that next big disruptive, game-changing thing might be...

later. big changes underway by the way...