Sunday, March 16, 2008

Syncronization of your contact pictures

Almost any review of the mobile phone features photo of incoming call, where you can see nice and clean picture of the caller. This looks really good, but I've never seen anyone, who is succesfully using this feature. And the reason is very simple - even with the cameraphone it is extremely difficult to maintain a database of quality pictures for your contacts. Especially if you are changing your phone once a year :)
I think this situation opens a niche for the nice piece of software. Someone forwarded me a linke to Spokeo - agregator over multiple on-line services, which is able to present you what are your friends doing in your favourites social networks and services like Picasa. I was amazed how easily this service retrives various information (including pictures) about my buddies from my google address book and social network friend lists. What if someone will create a service, that will be able to update your mobile phone address book with pictures, retrived from LinkedIn, Facebook or VKontakte?

It should be able to operate via OpenSocial API or custom html parsing, shows you a screen where one can manually match your friends and contacts in your address book (of cause system should attempt to do as much automatic matches as possible) and update your phone contact list.

Basically there are 2 possible ways how this can reach user. It can be mobile application, which user can buy for the fixed price and use it on one's phone as many time as possible. This probably will not going to work on j2me, but sounds like ideal case for iPhone (with its centralized software store). Technologically it can be implemented as Windows Mobile application as well, but it will be less appealing for the user

The other option would be to create on-line service with Silverlight front-end. This front-end should be able to communicate with ActiveSync, iTunes, Nokia suite or whatever sync software is installed. There will be no problems with delivering updates for the users. The only reliable way to monetize this service will be paid SMS, because the target audience is 15-25 years old, and they will unlikely visit site frequently (so ads will not work).

Update: Did not do my homework properly: Outsync performs photo-sync between Facebook and Outlook (so it can get to your WindowsMobile afterwards). Fortunately it is .NET based, so someone might adopt it to your favorite social network as well :)

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