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Social Networking From Your Cell 143

A small startup VCEL (Virtual Communication Expression & Lifestyle) has unveiled a new social networking service for cell phones. All you need to do to keep in contact with your friends 24/7 is to create a profile with their website, download a Java application for your cell phone (more than 20 models are supported already), and send an invitation to your buddies. Here we go: you can exchange comments, pictures, plan on activities together, etc. You'd have the same control over your profile either from phone or from web browser. They have a nice Java applet for your page, so you can leave your buddies a voice message right from your computer and so on.
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Social Networking From Your Cell

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  • Let me guess... (Score:2, Informative)

    by pugdk ( 697845 )
    US only?
    • Re:Let me guess... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by romit_icarus ( 613431 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:42AM (#15188034) Journal
      Abosulutely bang on! Any mobile phone service from the US sounds a bit primitive. Even the list of phone models mentioned is so limited....
    • gomyplace.com will eventually do all this without Java ..and open source, of course
      • If I were to remain in contact with my friends 24/7, I'm fairly sure they wouldn't remain friends for very long. And they would probably feel likewise about me.
    • OK word from South Africa (ya third world country) we have something called MXIT and mig33 both are similar to chat rooms and cost less than 2c (thats south acrican currency work it out $1 = R6) to a message with all the normal functionality
    • US only?

      Yep! There is no entry for Country in the registration page, nor any non-US cell phone companies in the dropdown box.

      Move on, nothing to see here.
    • Nokia has Sensor [nokia.com], which has the downside of being only available on their phones, but the 'upside' of being available to anyone using Bluetooth. Slightly different concept, admittedly, but at least more generic and a lot less primitive.
    • I would like to welcome the USofA to the 21st century.

      What exactly is wrong about http://www.bluepulse.com/ [bluepulse.com] which works for anyone in the world?

      As a added bonus, you can chat on MSN and Aim/ICQ, get news feeds and it has an api for developing your own extensions. works with most Wap and Java (MIDP1 and 2), Symbian enabled phones...

  • Terrific (Score:2, Funny)

    by IlliniECE ( 970260 )
    Splendid! Yet another way to watch my friends leave their accounts idle or away for months at a time.
  • Great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:38AM (#15188025)
    Facebook.com isn't distracting enough already. Now I can assure that my productively plummets to the Earth's core.
    • Why hasn't that happened to you already? You know there if a facebook for mobile phones now, allowing you to message friends, write on walls, poke people and even add friends (why you would send a facebook message from your cell phone instead of a text message I do not understand, but whatever).
    • Hehe, yey, Facebook! Although if you're not at Oxbridge, the chance of your uni in the UK being on it are slim.
    • I really, really don't understand what the hell it is that people do on facebook. I had an account for a year and a half and all it has ever gotten me is people in real life bitching about how I didn't accept their stupid friend request yet. What the hell is wrong with you people?
    • If you are so worried about productivity you could always ... not use it.
  • http://vcellvibes.com/vcel_register.php [vcellvibes.com]

    Or at least that link works for me.

    I wonder what the MySpace stuff is about? Are they going to auto-spam everyone you're friends with on MySpace? The TOS & FAQ say nothing about it AFAIK.
  • 'Myspace 2.0'
  • Sweet! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Lord Aurora ( 969557 )
    Or...you could...just...go talk to them. That's what me and my friends* do. *(Term used loosely)
  • Why?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pen ( 7191 ) * on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:45AM (#15188045)
    Ok, here are the three main drawbacks I can think of so far:
    1. Signing up seems to take place on a web site. This rules out being accessible to people who don't have computers or Internet access -- the only benefit I could imagine for this service.
    2. My cell phone has a tiny screen. I won't even bother to elaborate on this.
    3. I pay per-kilobyte charges for network traffic. Social networking just isn't important enough to pay for.
    • by b0r1s ( 170449 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @02:10AM (#15188112) Homepage
      A better use is vobbo's [vobbo.com] video blog + video phone [vobbo.com] integration, where you can post pictures and video from the phone to the web. Don't try to type with a silly keypad, don't try to view video/picture on limited resolution, use it as an input device and get back to using the web the way you meant to all along.

      Get the media online quickly and easily, that's what people really seem to care about, anyway.

    • This rules out being accessible to people who don't have computers or Internet access"

      you have friends without computers or internet access?!

      • you have friends without computers or internet access?!

        I know this is Slashdot, but not all nerds are IT nerds.

        Apart from those in my own area (molecular biology but former sysprog) I know geeks who are into classical archaeology, mediaeval history and South-East Asian anthropology.

        Computers and the internet often only figure in their world as a tool, unlike those of us for whom they are a major part of headspace.

    • I pay per-kilobyte charges for network traffic. Social networking just isn't important enough to pay for.

      This is why this and all other "online on your phone" ventures are going to fail (adoption wise), until the phone companies stop raping people on data rates.

      The only people who can afford this kind of thing right now are business users with data plans to keep in touch with the office. Thus, these companies are excluding the fastest growing segment of cellphone users (tweens, teens and young adults), wh

  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:45AM (#15188046)
    There are only so many friends that any one person has. Friends of friends make for interesting conversation, but ultimately there is no relationship friends of friends. Extend that even further outwards towards friends of friends of friends and you are now talking about perfect strangers. It's like playing the Kevin Bacon game, but without any of the fun.

    What is the benefit of having a huge social network if you're not directly linked to the people who are in the network? It's not like you can call them up and crash at their place. More time should be spent cultivating actual relationships and not trying to make a game out of creating links where none actually exist.

    The real next boom in cellphone software services is mobile blogging. Snap a shot while walking and upload and comment on the picture.
    • "The real next boom in cellphone software services is mobile blogging. Snap a shot while walking and upload and comment on the picture." You can do this from Flickr, including posting to a blog.
    • look gomyplace.com

      it allows to run a daemon on any PC (NATed, firewalled, whatever) and be able to access the file system, manage user accounts, etc. via regular internet browser. blog ? no problem. extend daemon by any bloggin software or run PHP based blog. gomyplace daemon will tunnel HTTP for you.

      think about gomyplace as a easy way to run HTTP server. and gomyplace PROXY which caches the data (this one is optional) allows you to turn the host off and still you will be able access the data.

  • ...how common it has become to use our cell phones for entertainment? I like this kind of technology, but what has happened to good ole hookin up with people in person?
    • Where would you recommend doing that? Society has changed a lot since the Hoedown at the Barn and whatever came before that.
    • what has happened to good ole hookin up with people in person?

      That's what we use mobes for. Text your friends and make sure you're all going to the right place at the right time.

      No more conversations like "We were just down the road" or "we missed you by minutes"

      Phones don't have to replace real meetings and real relationshsips. Some people let them do it, others don't. You choose which you want to be.
    • I had in mind meeting people for the first time. Back in the old days there were only rural areas, in which you could be sure everyone's interests were farming, towns that were more homogenous than those of today, and then there was royalty. Nowadays there are a great many more interests, and restaurants, which is one place to meet people are structured around what you want to eat more than social compatibility.
  • What is it good for? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Call me old-fashioned, but I can exchange comments and plan activities with my friends by - GASP! - calling them!

    -"Hey, man, fancy a beer?"

    But hey, at least their FAQ mentions a "tickr". VC's of the world, unite!
  • No thanks... (Score:2, Insightful)

    Call me a primitive bastard but I prefer my cell phone to be a cell phone. I don't need text messaging (which I get 10 spam messages and forced to pay a buck for every month), video games, TV, porn, or Muppet Show ringers.
    • And every new cell phone has more useless features, bundled with poorer call quality and shorter battery life. Eventually cell phones will just be gateways for the laptop to use Skipe over...
      • Curmudgeons of the world unite!

        I heartily agree, though. I would be much happier with my phone if the manufacturers took out the useless crap like cameras, games and all that associated scheissdreck and concentrated on making a device that is actually useful for making calls and SMS messages (yes, I like SMS - it's a useful and nonintrusive way of communicating) and made it so that it doesn't take up so much room in my pocket.

    • Actually, I agree. I've got an old Nokia with mono screen. I send a lot of text messages, but that's about it.

      But you're missing the point here. There's hundreds of millions of asian teenagers who use IM, picture messaging, mobile blogging and other half baked gimics [slashdot.org]. I write code for mobile phones, and this sort of thing basically feeds me. If everyone stuck to 5 year old phones, lots of people like me would have to get real jobs.
  • Oh wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:51AM (#15188060)
    I can already see the next gen of this: Cells that let you call your friend and tell them you want to meet!

    Gosh. I'm bouncy.
    • Re:Oh wow! (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ... and send them a blurry pic of your boobs.

      This is the MySpace crowd, after all.

  • I thought the Department of Corrections was allowing inmates expanded Constitutional Rights... but alas, it is just more telephonic gimmicky crap I do not need.
    • "I thought the Department of Corrections was allowing inmates expanded Constitutional Rights...

      sounds like a joke: you know you've spent too much time in jail when... you read the word "cell" on /. and think "jail cell" instead of "cell phone"

    • Ditto here, I thought it would at least a bit informational about how to keep in contact with people (for either good or bad purposes) while in jail, but the actual subject is just the usual "social network" commercial crap. And you know what, these things already exist, for example www.sms.ac . You can hook up, contact with people from anywhere, just via messages on your mobile phone (it'll cost you about 50 cent per message, complete waste of money). They also offer 3 free sms messages per day. And guess
  • I See.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:59AM (#15188082) Homepage
    So, wait. I see Verizon offering this as part of their music/video package. So I can dance to the latest tunes while shopping for clothes and scheduling something with my friends with this social networking. Wow....

    Seriously. This stuff is so stupid. Why not actually use the phone and TALK to your friends?
    • The actual next thing (old thing, if you consider Nextel) is Push to Talk over Cellular. It works like a little handheld CB that broadcasts to selected recipients. Given a fixed rate per message, you don't have to make 10 calls to 10 friends just to update everyone with some new information. You just select the recipients from your addressbook, press the dial button, and send your message.

      It's like the Star Trek communicators except that no one seems to like clamshells, so you don't get the cool flip act
      • I don't see how that would be useful. Kids and people my age use Text messages to broadcast something to people. Like "We're going to this show at this time" rather than calling. It's easier.
        • How can typing out a message be easier than speaking into the phone?
          • It is. I get way more text messages than I do calls.
            • I'm not following at all.

              Here's what you said originally:

              Why not actually use the phone and TALK to your friends?

              So I responded with an upcoming technology (that I parenthetically noted was not new at all) that enabled a multi-recipient voice-based service that allowed you to talk to your friends rather than send text messages.

              To which you responded that it was easier to send text messages than voice messages. I assume that you completely missed the point of my original post because it was a complete non-s
            • I always love responses as to why txting is eaiser than calling that just say "it is" with nothing to back it up. Guess how long it takes me to ask if a friend wants to go out and where to? 1-2 minutes. How long does it take you type that shit out and then get a response? There are some rare occurances where txting is nice like when your in a meeting getting info like an address, but not much else. Some of my clients annoy the hell out of me with thier txting me then act supprised when I call back. These ar
              • How long does it take you type that shit out and then get a response?

                That's not the point. Sure, it does take a long time to punch "all that shit" in - especially if the first thing you have to do is turn off that dumbass predictive text that is unalterably on-by-default on my phone, but that's a rant for another post.

                The point I was going to make is that an SMS doesn't have to interrupt anybody. If it needs a reply, the recipient can do so at his or her leisure. A voice-to-voice call always has to interru

      • Seriously, America... so behind the times. Push To Talk has useful purposes - a lot of building sites use them. But PTT has been available in the rest of the 'modern' world for several years now. It had its flash of interest and has now faded away, for the most part.
        • I had one of the first Nextels (I was driving a triaxle at the time, so I was one of those early adopters on constructios sites). That was a long time ago....like 10 or 12 years I think.

          What was that about the "rest of the modern world having it for several years now"?

          For those of us in the US, its useful because paying for time on linked repeater networks gets real expensive. Not the iDen isn't exactly that, but it's priced better.
  • ...when the US has phones and networks equivalent to -- let's be charitable here -- what the rest of the world had six years ago.
  • Dodgeball [dodgeball.com]?
  • Great (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Sounds great! Now do these "friends" come with the service or are they separate download? Is there torrent?
  • Since when did journals get turned into stories, much less put on the front page? And isn't this one giant slashvertisement for a service which is indistinguishable from about half a dozen websites that already do much of the same?
  • by SsShane ( 754647 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @02:40AM (#15188183)
    Finally a way to stay in touch with all my felonious friends!
  • What's wrong with existing Java Jabber and MSN clients that already exist? Why use yet another IM network?
  • I think people might have a problem with this since cell phones can easily be used to call people and simply talk to them. This service isn't for talking to people. It's for networking. All you people who have no friends can now have some thanks to this brilliant new program of Social Networking! Unfortunately, it can only be used with people you already know.
  • So now they're be more car accidents, probaly in teenagers...

    soon inusrance will go up if you own a cell phone and no hands free kit.
  • I clicked on this RSS feed and from the headline I was thinking it was a social networking sire for prison inmates.
  • This sounds interesting and all, but why do we care about these people making friends and building social networks? Plus, how many REALLY have cell phones, and do they even work inside the cell blocks? That's a lot of concrete.

    I guess I don't understand the market behind this. And isn't there liability giving potential predators a chance to gain someones trust?

    Just another reason to stay away from MySpace.
  • I wonder how all these new social networking sites are planning to gather the critical mass needed. The only way I see it happening for a start-up is by targeting some niche and wait for "overflow" into other demographics.
  • Yeah, it's easy to phone someone up and organise some sort of activity, but with each new person who wants to join in on said activity the complexity grows. Try and get 10 people to reach a consensus on where to eat .. it can take a while! I can see the calendar as being a useful application.
  • "Users with camera phones gain the ability to snap pictures and paste them as comments."
    ... like MMS?

    "The application also allows for cool features such as allowing you to make restaurant orders and payments on your cell phone screen without the need of having your wallet with you."
    ... like a credit card?

    "The availability status gives you the choice of one of multiple availability settings that describe how easily you can get in touch with any of your contacts or how easily they could reach you."

    • "The application also allows for cool features such as allowing you to make restaurant orders and payments on your cell phone screen without the need of having your wallet with you."
      ... like a credit card?

      Exactly. And I know you, like me, are just hanging out for the list of four restaurants in downtown Silicon Valley that'll actually accept payment like this, rather than just laugh at you and say, "No, seriously, we want paid, in a real way."

      "The availability status gives you the choice of one of multip

  • Maybe it's just me, but what's so freaking social about trying to have a conversation with somebody who's busy "social networking" on his freaking phone while you're trying to talk to them?

    People gotta learn to put the damned things away occasionally.
  • I thought that there was now a MySpace for Prisoners. Would have made for some good blogs...

    "today i totally had a shiv to my head in the laundry room! it was just like that part in shawshank redemption! i LOL'd and sum totally came out my nose! it was so gross"

    I'm sorry.
  • "What's the point of social networking outside your cell? Bubba's all you need..."
  • .. that social networking from my cell involved shivs, gangs, guards, prison bitches, trading skills and smuggling drugs inside.
  • Several years ago there was a Japanese company that gave you the ability to program social and sexual preferences into a tiny little device, that broadcasted them to similar devices within a 100 meters or so, yours and the compatible person's device would blink or vibrate (guess that would be a part of the sexual preference), allowing you to then meet and mate.

    Seriously, how many of us would want our unemployed friends (arent they all?) IM'ing them in the middle of a billion dollar VC presentation .. "dude,
    • how many of us would want our unemployed friends (arent they all?) IM'ing them in the middle of a billion dollar VC presentation

      Perhaps I'm lower on the totem pole than I thought. I can't recall one time I've made a "billion dollar VC presentation", let alone have them on a regular basis.

  • Social networking from your cell?
    * Hey Bubba! I'll introduce you to my bitch for a pack of cigarettes!
    * Sure thing, mon.

  • Bad timing on their part. They're going to need to capture college kids, who are addicted to this type of thing...Facebook has incredible penetration rates on most decently-sized campuses, and they just came out with a very useful mobile interface to their profiles. Takes bar stalking to a whole new level. That might take the wind out of this service before it starts.

    OT, but I'd love to see how MySpace's numbers have changed since Facebook became so prevalent, at least amongst the college demographic. I kno
  • Uhm... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Wienaren ( 714122 )
    Social networking with a phone? What ELSE is one supposed to do with a phone???
  • by Chase ( 8036 )
    Social Networking from Your Cell?

    I was imagining prisoners on MySpace.
  • ...who thought this was an announcement of a version of MySpace for Felons?
    Slashcode bug # 497457 - unfixed since December 2001 - Go look it up!
  • So, where on the site does it mention what phones it works with?

    I apparently doesn't work with the world's most converged phones (well, I tried it on a Treo 650, and it doesn't work in IBM's Java client that comes with the Treo), and the website is.. appauling, even for a first effort.

    Dodgeball, dudes. It's all about being able to do this stuff with SMS, which every phone has. Sure, they can have a fancy Java midlet later.. but first, it's gotta work on everybody's phone before it will have widespread acc
    • With some more work they could have a custom midlet that works through SMS. However then you'd have to have a PSTN interface somewhere for SMS users to use the audio features.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.