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98 comments

Lack of direction? (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year ago | (#42484453)

Does Facebook even have any sense of direction towards monetizing their platform? They seem to keep grasping at straws, though in this case I'm not sure where they see revenue coming from. I certainly wouldn't use a VoIP service provided by them.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#42484483)

I for one would not be upset at all if/when Facebook fails. Another thing to consider: is your data plan advantageous? I tried VOIP on android over wifi once, it was terrible... almost unusable. With ideas like this, I am amazed FB is still in business.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

blitzd (613596) | about a year ago | (#42484551)

I for one would not be upset at all if/when Facebook fails. Another thing to consider: is your data plan advantageous? I tried VOIP on android over wifi once, it was terrible... almost unusable. With ideas like this, I am amazed FB is still in business.

They're certainly proving they are NOT too big to fail. Grasping at straws lately.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#42485107)

You need to give this time. The trial here in Canada is just to get the technology working fairly reliably.

Next, when they expand it to the US, say hello to blackmail.

Or as Facebook will put it, pre-authorized publication of your phone call, at Facebooks discretion, where you can alter the discretion by making voluntary monthly payments that vary with the content of your call.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42486999)

Not to mention that they'll digitally analyse your conversation and insert ads while you're talking.
- people are talking about their drunk friend who passed out on the couch.
- FoneBook sees an add opportunity
- the callers are interrupted by an ad:
"Did you know that Levitz is offering free deliveries on all couches purchased before Jan 11th? Just enter #FBLevitzCouchnCarry17 in the coupon code on the Levitz Facebook page and Like their page, and you'll be redirected to the Levitz couch specials webpage where you can select ...".
- the callers realize the opportunity and start talking about getting a stripper for their drunk friend.

Re:Lack of direction? (2)

aurispector (530273) | about a year ago | (#42490431)

Facebook could offer blowjobs and it wouldn't make me want to use it more. Their entire purpose it to get you to disgorge the most intimate details of your life to...a giant corporation. Zuck can take a flying fuck at a rolling donut.

Re:Lack of direction? (3, Informative)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#42484595)

I use my Android phone+wifi+SkypeOut to ring my folks' landline phones in the States all the time (I live in Sweden), and it works great. Skype video is not as good as when using my laptop with a wired connection, but it does work.

The tech is not the problem. The problems are twofold:

1. That space is already well populated (e.g. Skype).

2. US users in particular are going to get gouged deeply if they try to use mobile data to save on POTS/LDD charges.

Also, I understand that some major US providers block Skype, which means they'll probably block this as well.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

volxdragon (1297215) | about a year ago | (#42484619)

Also, I understand that some major US providers block Skype, which means they'll probably block this as well.

Um, first time I've heard of this - which do?

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

ciotog (1098035) | about a year ago | (#42484835)

1. That space is already well populated (e.g. Skype).

One data point isn't well populated :P

There's also Dell Voice [dellvoice.ca] and Google Voice [mobilesyrup.com] might be coming soon, but I imagine that Facebook is piggybacking on Vonage Mobile [vonagemobile.com] to beat Google.

I think there's plenty of space in the market.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#42492785)

There might be room for some bit players, sure. But I think Skype (and FaceTime, which I should have mentioned earlier) are already 800-lb. gorillas.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

ciotog (1098035) | about a year ago | (#42499525)

That's what they say about all the landline ILECs as well, but luckily there are enough CLECs who disagree and provide choice in the marketplace, driving costs down. Of course phone service is still over-priced in North America, because of the influence of the gorillas.

Calling small, competing companies "bit players" is a bit disdainful.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

Zemran (3101) | about a year ago | (#42485923)

I take out a Skype subscription when I am away for phone calls. You cannot beat their price but for video you should should try Oovoo. It is not popular yet but the quality is a lot better than Skype. Oovoo do not charge for group video chat either like Skype do. I have Google Voice, Skype and Oovoo (and Yahoo and MSN) and Oovoo is by far the best. Google are often cheapest for phone calls if you do not have a current subscription with Skype. Skype are getting worse now. I had thought that M$ were running them down to kill but that seems wrong now they have made it clear that they are going to kill MSN instead. I use all of these a lot and over the past couple of years Skype has got a lot worse.

Re:Lack of direction? (0)

crossmr (957846) | about a year ago | (#42485959)

Unfortunately due to Skype's idiocy we still can't get skype-in numbers in Canada. Despite the Canadian Pension plan being an investor in Skype. They keep whinging about E911 regulations, but other VOIP companies don't seem to have any trouble getting around that.

I use skype out as well, but I'd kill to have a nice skype in number that was actually served up by skype. originally when I bought a package from them it included a free skype-in number, but it was useless.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

crossmr (957846) | about a year ago | (#42492049)

Obviously skype got mod points.
It's easy to check:
1-Many companies large and small offer dial-in numbers to tie into VOIP services in Canada
2-Skype has Skype-in in many countries, Canada is not one of them
3-The Canadian Pension Plan is an investor in Skype (try a google news search)
4-Searching skype-in Canada shows forum posts, blog posts, new stories in print news papers going back years and years about this and the same stock answer from Skype being trotted out each time despite it being complete and utter bullshit.

Further reading:
http://community.skype.com/t5/Online-Number/Online-Number-Canada/td-p/11006/page/12 [skype.com]

Re:Lack of direction? (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#42486963)

2. US users in particular are going to get gouged deeply if they try to use mobile data to save on POTS/LDD charges.

That's going to happen in Canada, too. Most people who have a cell phone with enough data where this would actually be feasible to use it as a cell phone (instead of on wifi) have enough local minutes that it wouldn't really serve any point at all. My own plan, for example, has effectively unlimited minutes because it's unmetered from 5pm-8am and I rarely, if ever, use it while I'm at work.

You *might* be able to use it to save on domestic long distance because the 3 major carriers don't include domestic long distance in their plans, but all of the fight brands and startups do so it's of limited use there, and on international long distance (assuming they'll let you terminate a call internationally for free), but how many people make international calls on their cell phone?

Re:Lack of direction? (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#42492811)

... but how many people make international calls on their cell phone?

Come to Europe, and you'll find lots of people who do. Many of them don't even have landlines.

(Yes, I am one of these.)

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

Auroch (1403671) | about a year ago | (#42484597)

I tried VOIP on android over wifi once, it was terrible... almost unusable.

I believe you're lacking adequate data points. I've tried it several times and found that the quality of the call is directly related to the quality of the connection.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year ago | (#42484781)

Exactly, it works fine with your dedicated or other not congested WiFi router. You may as well forget about it in busy hotspots.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#42484637)

I for one would not be upset at all if/when Facebook fails. Another thing to consider: is your data plan advantageous? I tried VOIP on android over wifi once, it was terrible... almost unusable. With ideas like this, I am amazed FB is still in business.

I don't know that i've ever tried it over wifi, but i've used Skype over 3G to the UK (from Australia) and it was clearer than a regular mobile call.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#42484671)

I don't know that i've ever tried it over wifi, but i've used Skype over 3G to the UK (from Australia) and it was clearer than a regular mobile call.

I'll have to try that next time I'm there. When I try to use 3G for Skype here in Stockholm, the quality's terrible and the calls invariably get disconnected after 2-3 minutes. (I suspect skulduggery by Telenor, but have no way to prove this.)

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

Zemran (3101) | about a year ago | (#42485941)

A lot of people have this strange idea that regular phone calls still go down wires to other countries but they do not. For decades the phone companies have been economising by routing all international calls over the internet.

Re:Lack of direction? (2)

Zemran (3101) | about a year ago | (#42485879)

I think that Facebook is like the modern day version of AOL. It has a collection of things in one place for those that are not computer literate to use easily. It does nothing well but it tries to do everything. My son wants to chat with me on FB and I tell him, switch to Skype but he finds FB easier??? I cannot understand this but I see it a lot (please, I am not saying Skype is the best, just better than FB). People now use FB instead of email but it only works with FB users (like AOL) and they can chat with other FB users on their chat (like AOL used to do) and now they can talk to other FB users... so they are scared to leave FB as it means they can no longer chat with their friends... It is just a clever lock in that people will tire of just like with AOL.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#42486413)

I for one would not be upset at all if/when Facebook fails. Another thing to consider: is your data plan advantageous? I tried VOIP on android over wifi once, it was terrible... almost unusable. With ideas like this, I am amazed FB is still in business.

I use VoIP from my cellphone all the time (SIPDroid on a Samsung Captivate Glide connecting to my Asterisk server). It works extremely well over both Wifi and 3G using the Speex codec. Using my (PAYG) mobile data to make calls from my landline is certainly a lot cheaper than paying per-minute charges, although the main advantage is that it ties in with my home and office phone numbers so I can get those calls wherever I am without messing about with call redirects.

I did try this many years ago when I first got an Android device (HTC Dream) and VoIP over 3G was unusable, even though VoIP over Wifi was fine. I can't really explain this since I've used the same MNO for both (Three), the only thing I can think is that using 3G might require more CPU and the Dream wasn't powerful enough to do that at the same time as running the softphone.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#42484503)

Since Skype is already available on Android and iOS, and brought with it a sizable existing customer base and mindshare built up over some years,... Yep, it's gonna be uphill all the way.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

Auroch (1403671) | about a year ago | (#42484567)

Since Skype is already available on Android and iOS, and brought with it a sizable existing customer base and mindshare built up over some years,..

Yes, but this is "Mom" friendly. And (un)fortunately, I already see many 12-and-13 year old kids using cell phones (paid by their parents) before they've learned cell phone etiquette. Now they don't need either a plan or software/VoIP knowhow - just a wifi connection.

This might be news, but I'm not convinced this is progress.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#42484639)

Now they don't need either a plan or software/VoIP knowhow - just a wifi connection.

But this is not a new thing at all--my 9-y-o daughter proved perfectly capable of installing and using Skype all by herself on her PC.. (And while I like to think she's remarkable, I realise that she's not THAT remarkable.)

Re:Lack of direction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42484677)

But this is not a new thing at all--my 9-y-o daughter proved perfectly capable of installing and using Skype all by herself on her PC.. (And while I like to think she's remarkable, I realise that she's not THAT remarkable.)

Good job staying on topic there. Cell phone android apps offer VoIP, and your kid can click next 3 times on a web browser. Totally equivalent.

Re:Lack of direction? (1)

Auroch (1403671) | about a year ago | (#42484615)

Does Facebook even have any sense of direction towards monetizing their platform?

Facebook (unlike many other products) has focused on delivering a scalable platform and pleasing user experience. While the web has been around for awhile, there is no standardized business plan for social media. Each "successful" platform has grown (or not) based on a unique combination.

I'm happy with their attempts to monetize - especially considering the more obnoxious attempts are easily ignored with adblock and/or noscript.

Re:Lack of direction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42484623)

Seriously? Facebook's monetization is selling very specific, accurate and individualized demographic information, just in time, to advertisers.

Re:Lack of direction? (2)

dos4who (564592) | about a year ago | (#42489033)

What they will get out of this is your biometric voice samples. Right now, if the go'vt wants to track (spy on) you and you don't have a sample already in their database, they have to go through various sources to see who you are. ie. Pix from Facebook and voice samples from either Google (voice) or Apple (Siri). This way, FB can offer up themselves as a one-stop-shop for any 3-letter homeland-security agency wanting to track you via video (pictures to run against video tracking) or audio (a verified voice sample to run against echelon/omnivore/etc).

Re:Lack of direction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42490167)

PhoneBook will be quite successful. Considering they will have a whole nother aresenal of customers to subject to tele-advertising IMHO they are making a very smart move. When you mentioned direction for monetizing they platform? LOL, we are talking about Facebook - Zuckerberg knows what he is doing and I have complete faith he will turn this into a success with the help of his TEAM. Creating revenue off his platform will not be a challenge, with vast numbers of clientel at his disposal I am sure he will be offered with a huge proposal from an existing telecommunications company like sprint or verizon. Opening the door to a lot of possiblities of making ca$h m0n3i y0

you're not the target for this device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42617853)

Just as you're not the target for Abercrombie & Fitch or Aeropostale. But it's a start for them to wedge themselves into the populus.

That'll be great (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42484457)

Data plans are just so mch cheaper than minutes.

Re:That'll be great (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about a year ago | (#42484599)

You jest, but for a lot of people, data is a lot cheaper than voice minutes. I chose my current low end plan ($20/month) has only a relatively small number of minutes (since I'm not a heavy phone user) but 1.5 GB of data per month. 1.5 GB is LOT of VoIP time. I make Skype or Facetime voice calls from my phone far more often than I make actual phone network calls.

Not only that I can bolt on additional gigs of data for just $5 or $10 extra a month, which gets me a lot more than a $5/$10 more expensive voice plan would get me.

Re:That'll be great (3, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#42484805)

You jest, but for a lot of people, data is a lot cheaper than voice minutes.

Where is this mystical plan in Canada? Last I looked, and that was recently it didn't matter what plan it was. At all levels the screw over level was so high, that you were getting so badly fucked that you might as well go looking for a pay phone(we still have those in Canada).

7-11 speakout (1)

Chirs (87576) | about a year ago | (#42485189)

$10/month for unlimited web browsing.

Combined with a bit of expertise, this is effectively unlimited data.

Re:7-11 speakout (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42486419)

You cannot use voip on that plan. It's unlimited mobile browsing. Not unlimited data.

Re:That'll be great (1)

Maow (620678) | about a year ago | (#42486003)

You jest, but for a lot of people, data is a lot cheaper than voice minutes.

Where is this mystical plan in Canada? Last I looked, and that was recently it didn't matter what plan it was. At all levels the screw over level was so high, that you were getting so badly fucked that you might as well go looking for a pay phone(we still have those in Canada).

Well, it just finished but will be back, but Wind just had a $40 / m unlimited talk & SMS (both North-America-wide), unlimited MMS, global SMS, voice mail, call display, conference calling, call waiting, and data (throttled after 5 GB).

That's the plan I'm on but the recently expired Unlimited Wish plan also included World Dialing Package: global dialing from 1c / minute. 2c / minute to Hong Kong.

So, not sure if that's a "cheap" data plan, but hard to beat. And, when my ISP failed for 9 days prior to xmas, the entire house got internet through my tethered phone, no extra costs.

Finally, check out their WindTab - basically free phones OAC with no contract and no ETF.

(Not affiliated, just satisfied customer.)

Re:That'll be great (1)

mirix (1649853) | about a year ago | (#42486085)

you might as well go looking for a pay phone(we still have those in Canada).

Not around my parts... They're vanishing at a pretty fast rate. I can't really think of the last ones I've seen, other than at airports, maybe a couple at malls. Convenience stores seem to have lost theirs, by large.

Re:That'll be great (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#42487119)

You can do it with Koodo, but it works out to a little more than he's claiming... $20/mo for the base plan, yes, but then you have to add on the data usage on the flex data plan, and that adds another $20/mo for 1GB or $30/mo for 3GB. At the end of the day, you'd be better off just buying their $50/mo unlimited minutes plan (local & long distance, call display, voicemail and SMS/MMS included) rather than futzing around with VOIP, and if you want data for other stuff, spend the extra $6/mo to get 2GB of data on their current promotional plan. (which is functionally the same as Virgin and Fido's promotional plans). Or if you're in a big city where they have service, go with Wind or Mobilicity, who offer unlimited everything at that price point.

If you're going to go that route, you can get a pay-as-you-go phone from a carrier with a monthly data topper. When you have the monthly data add-on, you don't need to keep renewing the minutes to keep the phone alive, because the data activity/money keeps the account active. Even then, though, you're looking at $25 for 500MB fo data from the big 3 (their prices are all the same at that price point). Telus has a $30 for 1GB price point as well, but the other two don't match it. The network *will* handle a VOIP line (I've used VOIP on Telus/Koodo), but it works out to about 500kB/minute, so while that 1GB will buy you about 2000 minutes if all you do is talk on VOIP, it's unlikely that you'd actually get that much talk out of it, as you'd use the data for other stuff. I looked at it as an option a couple of years ago and decided that it wasn't worth the hassle: for $30/mo you can get a phone with 5pm unlimited evenings/weekends and a small amount of data for email/social network, and if you work normal hours that's effectively unlimited talk.

Re:That'll be great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42492871)

Used to be an employee of a major carrier in canada.

I have unlimited long distance, 1000 local minutes, 6GB data, voicemail, caller ID, unlimited texting, Fab 10 for....

$45/month!!!! /havent worked there for 2 years //they havent taken away the discount ///they can't take the plan away, their front end tools don't recognize it as a valid plan to access let alone modify

Re:That'll be great (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about a year ago | (#42514401)

Sorry, I was responding to the general assertion that data plans are more pricey than minutes, saying that it's not true for everyone. But in case it wasn't clear, I didn't mean Canada specifically. I'm in Australia, FWIW.

Re:That'll be great (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#42485823)

You jest, but for a lot of people, data is a lot cheaper than voice minutes. I chose my current low end plan ($20/month) has only a relatively small number of minutes (since I'm not a heavy phone user) but 1.5 GB of data per month. 1.5 GB is LOT of VoIP time. I make Skype or Facetime voice calls from my phone far more often than I make actual phone network calls.

This is Canada. Where $50 gets you a 2GB/month plan unless you buy your phone when the next iPhone is released, where carriers will offer you 3GB for $50. $1/MB afterwards-ish (depending - sometimes you can get lucky and get it $1/10MB or a whopping $1/100MB (==$10/GB - SI units)).

Heck, sometimes there are promos, like $50/month for unlimited North America calling, unlimited texting, and 1GB of data.

Go with the AWS carriers (one of the reasons why the government was forced to take down their wireless carrier comparison tool - the big guys complained because the AWS guys were ALWAYS cheaper no matter what you tried), and it's not too bad. $35/month for unlimited local calls, unlimited Canada text and unlimited data. Make ir $45 and you get unlimited North American calling and global text and unlimited data. Hell, one of them is having it at half-price - $22.50 for all that.

Of course, the problem is coverage is crap... once you step out, you have to pay roaming. It's getting better, but there are still issues. (Though they ask for you to prepay, so you NEVER get startled with a $1K bill - it just stops working when the prepaid amount runs out - definitely plus).

Re:That'll be great (2)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#42484601)

Point of fact, some service providers provide 'FREE' access to certain social platforms, Facebook amongst them, so yes, this could be quite a lot cheaper. Of course, wait up people, this is bloody Facebook we are talking privacy invasive psychopaths extraordinaire, seriously do you want them listening and recording your phone calls and using computers to analyse the content for future the manipulation of you and your callers.

Re:That'll be great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42485165)

Yes, they are. I have the T-Mobile $30/mo for 5GB data, 100 minutes voice plan, so when I do voice it's usually Skype or Google Talk, not normal cell voice because 5GB = uh, well, way more talk time than I could ever use in a month.

Re:That'll be great (1)

GrahamJ (241784) | about a year ago | (#42485175)

Actually they are. I get 6GB for $30/month. At ~12kbps for voice, if my math is right that's about 4.2 million minutes.

Just one of the reasons I'm about to go data-only on my phone.

Re:That'll be great (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | about a year ago | (#42485393)

3 mobile in the UK , my Mrs has a cheaper plan with 200 minutes (any network),2000 minutes(3 to 3) 5000 texts and unlimited data at only £12.90
i have the bigger deal with 2000 any network minutes, 5000 3 to 3, 5000 texts and unlimited data for £25 gbp.... already had an unlocked Galaxy S3 but you can get a 2 year plan with phone(S3) for £31 GBP. not a bad deal at all really.

Re:That'll be great (1)

ADRA (37398) | about a year ago | (#42485479)

There are a LARGE number of unlimited (practically) plans here, that even on some top tier carriers it may be cheaper for internet calls than voice.

Re:That'll be great (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#42486463)

Data plans are just so mch cheaper than minutes.

Well, yes... they are.

My PAYG plan gives me 150MB "free" (expires after 45 days) every time I credit my balance with £5, and I can buy a 2GB bundle (expires after 30 days) with that £5 credit. Out-of-bundle data is 31p/MB (obviously you'd be nuts to use this). Voice calls are 26p/minute. This basically means that if I were to use the phone for nothing but data, I'd essentially get as much bandwidth as I need for £5 every 30-75 days (depending on how quickly I eat up the "free" 150MB - it usually lasts me over a month so £5 every 60 or so days).

Lets say you use 11Kbps Speex. So full duplex that's 165 kilobytes per minute, so the "free" 150MB alone will give you 931 minutes, the 2GB bundle will give you 8.8 *days* of talktime. Even if you use the out of bundle data (which is crazy), you're only paying 5p/minute. Also, that's assuming a worst case - in reality, you're not going to be using 11Kbps full duplex because most of the time one party is talking and the other party isn't, and a sensible VoIP system will do silence suppression so the media stream won't be transmitted during silences.

So yes, I can live with those kind of prices. Obviously you have to include PSTN gateway charges if you're making VoIP calls onto the PSTN, but it still works out way cheaper than paying the MNO for voice calls.

Re:That'll be great (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#42487207)

Data is nowhere near that cheap in Canada, though... a quick check reveals that the big 3 providers price it at $25/mo for 500MB. One of them has a $30/mo for 1GB price point as well. That's on their prepaid plans.

By contrast, my post-paid cell plan has unmetered minutes from 5pm-8am, 250 daytime minutes, unlimited incoming minutes, unlimited long distance, call display/voicemail/international SMS included, and 6GB of data for $60/mo. If you work normal business hours (which I do), that 5pm unlimited minutes is effectively unlimited minutes as you're not using it during the day, and so that 6GB of data gets used for stuff like Netflix instead. :) And by Canadian standards, that's an incredibly good deal: about the only way to get a better plan is to switch to one of the providers that doesn't have coverage outside of major cities.

Re:That'll be great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42487369)

Data plans are just so mch cheaper than minutes.

First: WiFi.

Second, a lot of folks in Canada are immigrants, and so calling to a "friend" (or family member) back in the Old Country can save you long distance. We currently do this with Skype, but having only one contact list would be convenient for a lot of people.

Re:That'll be great (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#42493833)

In Argentina, most plans have unlimited data.
I'd say we're better than the US, except that speeds are so bad that voice calls are but a remote dream. Heck, our speeds are about as fast as a 56k connection.

Re:That'll be great (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about a year ago | (#42505605)

I know you're just trying to be funny, however if you do most of your calling while at home, and you have wifi... Then it could be something that is worthwhile. Of course it also depends on how well it works, and how easy it is to use also. However I do see it as limited, as for when you are not on a wifi, and on your cell data plan, you are right, it doesn't make a lot of sense right now. However if cell plans change over the next several years (ya I know, ya right!)...

Nothing is free (1)

Solid StaTe_1 (446406) | about a year ago | (#42484469)

What's the catch? Nothing really is free...

The Catch Is Obvious (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#42484485)

... or at least the catch would be obvious here in the U.S.!

Mobile data costs so much more than phone minutes these days, people probably won't save anything.

Re:The Catch Is Obvious (0)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#42484563)

No way. I'm an an unlimited everything plan (Sprint). I couldn't care less which I use. Lots of people have unlimited everything plans.

The catch is data mining, of course. They'll be mined the same way Google mines email.

Re:The Catch Is Obvious (1)

AaronMK (1375465) | about a year ago | (#42485099)

Does that unlimited plan include international calling? Voice over data can be much more cost effective for that, even without unlimited data. I have gotten good performance even with mobile networks on both ends.

Also, there are apps for that with better track records on user privacy than Facebook.

Re:The Catch Is Obvious (1)

Auroch (1403671) | about a year ago | (#42484583)

Mobile data costs so much more than phone minutes these days, people probably won't save anything.

While this might be an attempt to troll the canadian population regarding the high price of mobile communications, I'm quite happy with my $40/month unlimited nation-wide calling and data. It's not free, but it's quite reasonable.

Although, why I'd need VoIP when I've already got unlimited minutes and decent coverage, I can't imagine ...

Re:The Catch Is Obvious (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#42487217)

International minutes, maybe? But given a choice between "free" with Facebook and calling card rates, I'll take the calling card.

Re:The Catch Is Obvious (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#42484657)

... or at least the catch would be obvious here in the U.S.!

Mobile data costs so much more than phone minutes these days, people probably won't save anything.

In Australia we typically pay flagfall + cost per minute (or part thereof) for mobile calls. Sometimes it's per 30 seconds (or part thereof). Data charges are exactly what you use, so for short calls the data charges are probably cheaper. Is the US anything like that?

Re:The Catch Is Obvious (1)

GrahamJ (241784) | about a year ago | (#42485227)

No it doesn't. I think VoIP runs at about 12kbps so a 1GB data plan would give you over 12,000 minutes. I dunno what you pay for data down there but here in Canada I get 6GB for $30.

Re:Nothing is free (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#42484569)

Like Skype, Yahoo, AIM, FaceTime with different options- its the next level of tracking and lock in.
You dont exit the walled garden to another app/back to the OS.
The value of your contacts list becomes more real to advertisers as you are making 'calls' to friends/family.

Re:Nothing is free (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#42485181)

What's the catch? Nothing really is free...

It's Facebook.

Hmmm, free phone service combined with Facebook privacy protections... what could possibly go wrong?

Re:Nothing is free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42485463)

"This call may be monitored for quality and [algorithm] training purposes..."

Re:Nothing is free (1)

mvar (1386987) | about a year ago | (#42486009)

I'm so concerned about my personal data & privacy that anything comes from the likes of facebook, google etc and is marked as "free service" is a no-thanks

til you disagree with Facebook's views (1)

nopainogain (1091795) | about a year ago | (#42484505)

and they ban your voice from being heard by anyone else.

Re:til you disagree with Facebook's views (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#42485061)

Be fun if this makes it to the USA and your profile has views on the Second Amendment.
Would the "community guidelines" clause take down you profile, contacts and 'free' phone :)

Re:til you disagree with Facebook's views (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42485135)

Clause isn't a verb fella.

Re:til you disagree with Facebook's views (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42490283)

Clause isn't a verb fella.

Especially in his sentence where he uses it as a noun.

They have it backwards... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42484863)

Between data and minutes on cell phone plans, data has become the more scarce/expensive resource. Why would I want to use my data for phone calls when I don't have to?

Can they flip it around? I'd like to use my (otherwise vastly under-utilized) minutes for internet access.

Re:They have it backwards... (1)

AaronMK (1375465) | about a year ago | (#42485119)

Dial-up access... there is an app for that.

Re:They have it backwards... (1)

fa2k (881632) | about a year ago | (#42487877)

Dial-up access... there is an app for that.

I couldn't find one in the Google store though. Would be interesting if you could bring up a PPP dial-up connection on the phone, but on the other hand I'm happy that nobody have wasted their making it. And I suspect it would require root.

Laugh (1)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#42484933)

What better way to take a voice sample to go along with your facial data, geographic data, political leanings, buying habits and what ever other banalities people they need to "share".

Lovely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42484991)

Typical conversation:

caller 1: Ah

caller 2: Yho

caller 1: Eh.

caller 2: Eh.

caller 1: Rubber.

caller 2: Tim Horton’s

caller 1: Hooooouuuuuwwww.

caller 2: Oooooyyyyyuuuuuu.

We interrupt this very important communication to warn of explicit vowel transpositions apparent. The Canadian Royal Naval Forces have been alerted as well as Sky Commander who both are on their way to the location of disturbance.

God Speed Canadian Royal Forces and Sky Commander.

What were they thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42485221)

Mobile data is ridiculously expensive compared to minutes. So unless this work over WiFi as well, for when you're at home or something, it's gonna fail, especially here in Canada..

Canadian Data cheap?? (1)

nebular (76369) | about a year ago | (#42485383)

My God will this be annoying. Canada has the worst rates when it comes to data. 6GB often costs $40+ ON TOP of a required minutes plan of some form. Most of the time people are getting 1-2gb and many (like myself) have only 250mb.

VOIP over mobile here is way to expensive to be economical. This will only be useful in a wif-fi area.

Re:Canadian Data cheap?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42485459)

I don't know about Canada, but here in NZ, this would be a pretty dead idea from the beginning. Data charges on mobiles are outrageous, and every byte counts.

So many plans in the US (and maybe CA) are unlimited, or have such large data caps that people just think of them as "free" since they never breach the limit and never have to pay any more. It's an annoying attitude to encounter, and the situations are very different in other countries.

Re:Canadian Data cheap?? (1)

ADRA (37398) | about a year ago | (#42485495)

Switch to Wind/Mobilicity if you have good coverage in your area. Sometimes plans come as low as $25/mo for unlimnited EVERYTHING. I got mine for $40 and it has unlimited US/canada calling, data, tether, voice mail, unlimited text, unlimited data and I can walk away whenever I want to. The 'catch' is that they don't subsidize the phones, but I find this an advantage.

Re:Canadian Data cheap?? (1)

Maow (620678) | about a year ago | (#42486015)

Switch to Wind/Mobilicity if you have good coverage in your area. Sometimes plans come as low as $25/mo for unlimnited EVERYTHING. I got mine for $40 and it has unlimited US/canada calling, data, tether, voice mail, unlimited text, unlimited data and I can walk away whenever I want to. The 'catch' is that they don't subsidize the phones, but I find this an advantage.

Gotta agree 100% with this, except that they do subsidize their phones: you can have up to $500 on a tab (WindTab), where they reduce the outstanding amount each month by 10% of your air-time bill.

After 36 months, they wipe the balance off the tab. For my HTC Amaze, I paid $99, put $450 on a tab, and after 36 months ($144 "paid" off as 10% of my $40/m bill), they will wipe the balance to $0.00.

Unbeatable.

Re:Canadian Data cheap?? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#42486475)

My God will this be annoying. Canada has the worst rates when it comes to data. 6GB often costs $40+ ON TOP of a required minutes plan of some form. Most of the time people are getting 1-2gb and many (like myself) have only 250mb.

VOIP over mobile here is way to expensive to be economical. This will only be useful in a wif-fi area.

I think you overestimate the amount of data VoIP uses. Full duplex 11Kbps Speex is going to top out at 165KB/minute (probably lower since its VBR), so thats 1552 minutes of talktime in your 250MB...

Re:Canadian Data cheap?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42490017)

My bill is $93 a month with tax. 6GB data, voicemail, free evenings, calls to 10 friend numbers don't count. (virgin mobile).

Too much....

doomed to fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42485397)

in canada mobile data is massively overpriced and capped.
using voice minutes is cheaper.

Regarding Facebook Gives Free Voice Calls a Trial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42485601)

Its very nice to hear this information. I think better it available for all. Thanks for this post.............

ma83 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42485631)

40,000 workstations FreeBSD core te-am The curtains 7lew to happen. My

Newsflash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42485737)

Verizon doesn't charge for minutes anymore. Data is the cost.

Roaming Charges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42487185)

When using a cell phone it is the roaming charges that kill you when you travel. Wind Mobile has unlimited everything but it can only be used in the city. They piggyback on the Rogers Cell network and have a 100x times markup on the data ... yes 100x. Rogers has data plans at 1$ per 100MB and Wind roaming is 1$ per 1MB. It is the roaming fees we need to control a 10x-40x markup for roaming is more reasonable.

I wouldn't use it (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about a year ago | (#42487223)

Given the general anathema towards privacy expressed by Facebook corporate leadership, there is no way I would use a service such as this. Will Facebook deliver targeted ads based on listening to phone conversations? Fuck that! This could be a way for law enforcement to circumvent whatever weak eavesdropping protections still exist.

FB phone calls? Not on your life (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42487405)

I can see FB phone calls be attractive to people who already use Viber because that will make no difference in the amount of uncontrolled intercept they are exposed to (I have to give Viber credit here, when you ask them they don't sell you any BS - they directly tell you there is no encryption involved in their data transport).

However, if you handle any kind of personal or confidential information (for instance, if you run a business) you may be barred from using this by law so I'd be very, very careful.

Personally, I like my privacy. I don't do anything wrong so I don't see why I should permit my privacy to be violated by any idiot who feels that the rules don't apply to them (or who is capable of rewriting the rules so that my rights no longer matter) so I won't be using FB voice ever.

I'll probably draw attention to myself for being the exception..

Proof that phone service is non competitive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42487729)

After all, if you can provide the exact same service using the exact same network, for FREE, then what the hell is the rest of your market doing?

What *REALLY* scares me... (1)

knorthern knight (513660) | about a year ago | (#42493405)

...is that this could be the "killer app" that makes Fecesbook indispensible. I am their ultimate hater, but I think I see what they're trying to do. Imagine if they made realtime "free" Fecesbook the "new phone". Right now there some people without cellphones, and some without landlines, but almost nobody without at least one phone number (landline or cell). Today you can still call people via their phone number.

Imagine a future where "free" Fecesbook voice service kills off phone companies as we know them. Today's phone companies morph into "mobile broadband ISPs". If you want to call somebody, you have to whip out your mini-tablet (i.e. today's smartphone without a voice plan), click on the Fecesbook phonebook app, select a name/photo, and click on call.
* Want a cute chick to call you back, you have to give her your Fecesbook ID?
* Want to apply for a job? The application form doesn't ask for your phone number; it asks for your Fecesbook ID. The employer can't even call you for an interview without that contact info.
* Being without Fecesbook in the future becomes like being without *ANY* phone (cell or landline) today.

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