The social networking phenomenon Facebook is all about connecting people. Plans to add Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication to Facebook could be the chosen method of staying in touch for many in the future. A few Facebook users have started seeing a “Call” button randomly show up when they visit their friends' profiles. The new button doesn't seem to do anything, but it's not too big of a stretch to guess that Facebook wants to start doing VoIP calls.
Facebook likely will not develop the technology on its own. After all, the social networking giant has been working on deep integration with Skype to deliver SMS and voice/video chat using Facebook Connect for the last four months, if not longer. With the release of Skype 5.0 for Windows three months ago, we saw Facebook phonebook and browsing integration in the new Skype client.
Will we soon see Skype integration on Facebook? Admittedly, nothing actually suggests Skype in these leaks, but we're assuming so anyway; these screenshots are easy to fake, but we don't really see any motivation to do so.
The image above is courtesy of AroundThe.Net. Another user also saw the button appear and sent in a slightly different screenshot to The Daily What.
With Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera all duking it out for browser market share, some might think the world doesn’t need another Web browser. However, a group of developers led by Tim Howes and Eric Vishria have taken the wraps off of RockMelt, a new Web browser that builds on the notion of a social Web by building Facebook and Twitter directly into the browser. RockMelt will also include integrated sharing tools and an enhanced way to navigate through Google search results via the keyboard to find exactly what you want. Additionally, if you happen to be using a public computer or someone else’s system, no problem: RockMelt is the first browser to be “fully backed by the cloud.” Just run RockMelt, and your personalized browsing experience is waiting for you.
“RockMelt does more than just navigate Web pages,” RockMelt wrote on their just-launched company blog. “It makes it easy for you to do the things you do every single day on the Web: share and keep up with your friends, stay up-to-date on news and information, and search.”
RockMelt also keeps track of users favorite sites, informing users of new posts or updates automatically so users don’t have to constantly check for new posts. Taking it one step further, RockMelt proactively fetches that content so users don’t have to wait for it to download once they notice it’s available. RockMelt also integrates a sharing tool to make it easy to share a page or a link with friends: clicking a Share button next to the browser’s URL field automatically shares the link with Facebook or Twitter, with no fuss. RockMelt also claims to be the first browser “backed by the cloud,” meaning that users can run RockMelt from anywhere, after you log in, you can tap directly into your personalized Web experience. RockMelt also aims to make searching easier my enabling users to flip through Google search results from the keyboard like flipping through a magazine.
RockMelt is available for Mac and Windows (Linux support not available) by invitation only—and, for the moment, interested users can only get an invitation via Facebook. The initial RockMelt release is a beta and has many rough spots, but the developers seem eager for feedback and thoughts on how to enhance the browser. Folks who spend a good portion of their online time using Facebook and Twitter then sharing interesting items with their friends may find a lot to like in RockMelt.
If RockMelt’s features resonate with social Internet users, expect mainstream browsers to quickly take notice…or maybe RockMelt could become a mainstream browser itself.
Apple has sent out invitations to the press for a 'special event' scheduled on September 1st at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts Theater in San Francisco. The text in the invite offered no hint of what might be in store, but there has been plenty of speculation leading up to it. Many rumor mongers bet that Apple will introduce the new iPod Touch with camera and/or a cheaper Apple TV box unit. From the buzz over the web and in the technology world, it looks like it might be more of an iPod related event.
The invites sent out contain image of an acoustic guitar with the Apple logo cut out on it. It is fairly clear that Apple would be releasing something related to music. Among the new products and services rumored to be on tap:
- A new iPod touch, possible with a higher-res screen and one or two cameras
- A new Apple TV, priced at $99 and built around iOS and the iTunes store
- A 99-cent TV rental service, subject to the agreement of the TV studios
- A cloud-based iTunes service that makes use of the new data center Apple has been building in North Carolina.
Earlier this year, two iPod touch prototypes with camera were spotted on eBay.
Heavy buzz is being created about the new Apple TV box that would be lighter, cheaper and won't have any hard drive. This complements rumors about the new cloud-based iTunes service. Any or all of this could be wrong, of course. I guess we’ll all have to wait for the announcements from this special event scheduled 12pm Central on September 1.