Mobile Social Networking

by francine Hardaway on July 23, 2008

I’m sitting in a panel on Mobile Social Networks at AlwaysOn Innovation Summit 2008. Who is going to win in mobile social networking, and what does winning mean are the big questions.

The panelists are from MySpace, INMobile, Buongiorno, ZipClip, Nokia and Intercasting.  This is an entire new group of players for me, except for MySpace and Nokia. And clearly the space hasn’t taken off yet; but people are preparing for it.

Mauro del Rio, the chairman of Buongiorno says the mobile  use in Europe is twice in what it is in the US. He says, however, that we are ahead on social networking. Buongiorno is a mobile entertainment company that is actually making money:-) "As we aggregate content and provide a unified experience for the user,

The panelists agree that the mobile experience will be very different from that of sitting in front of a PC. And it will be different in every country, because it’s cultural. Babur Ozden, the CEO of ZipClip, says we are very far behind in the US.  He says he can stream video from Istanbul and Beijing, but with a 3G phone he can’t get a signal outside the conference room at Stanford.

Where is Nokia going to make money in mobile social networking? They think through sale of devices, through advertising, through applications of their own, such as music services, and through the 900 million handsets they now have in use. But the users in the chat room say they don’t want Nokia to pick their apps for them.

Nokia has done research across 20 markets that proves users are only talking on their phones 12% of the time. The rest of the time they are working with photos, social networks, etc. Especially in emerging markets, the natural DNA is mobile, and the experience isn’t going from the PC to the phone–the social networking experience starts with the phone.Img_0423

"The ultimate goal is to be the first link in the value chain. That means you need to own the address book (aka the social graph). And it doesn’t necessarily mean that the entrenched social networks will win. The great thing about the Facebook mobile app is that it replaces your address book on the phone with your Facebook friends."–Sean Conahan, CEO of Intercasting.

The address book is the killer app for mobile social networking. It’s a means of reaching out and communicating.

Open identity and APIs are very important for this space. MySpace is allowing the address book to grab user information for the phone. Facebook, right now, is not. MySpace believes in openness and collaboration, and by extending their APIs, they are offering their data for mutual benefit.–John Faith, GM and VP for Mobile, MySpace.

There are large interests now trying to pander to the consumer by syncing all the address books.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sachendra Yadav July 25, 2008 at 2:59 am

“The address book is the killer app for mobile social networking” I completely agree with this, and it’s heartening to see progress being made on this front.

I’ve covered this in my blog post “Finally… Phonebook gets social”

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