Facebook Ought to Own My Phone Address Book

I have been playing with the Facebook app on my Blackberry a lot lately and I really do like it. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know I’m obsessed with address books and email, particularly the concept of the evergreen address book. To date, the best solution I have is to treat my Outlook address book as authoritative and use a combination of Plaxo and manual updates as a way to keep Outlook up to date.

Increasingly, I find a lot of my friends who are using Facebook as the place where they keep their contact info up to date. One solution would be for Facebook to open up and let other services tap into that data store to keep their address books up to date. That’s geek-cool, but I’m not sure how many people would want to use it.

What’s cooler, and potentially more powerful, would be to have a Facebook address book application that works on my phone. What I really want to be able to do is “click to call” any of my Facebook friends right from my Blackberry. Instead of having to keep track of their contact information in a separate app, I’d like an app that ties my Facebook friends and their contact info together in a seamless way.

This shouldn’t be that hard to implement. A user could have a simple configuration option where all click-to-call requests from “friends” would be routed to a number of their choosing (cell, mobile, voip, etc).

I think this would be a great way for Facebook to continue to extend their presence on mobile phones and reinforce the value of keeping your contact info up-to-date on Facebook.

  • I may be biased, but I think separating the tasks of gathering contact info and building lots of tools to make use of that info is more efficient (and thus better for users) than having a company that holds contact info be required to build all the tools themself to avoid it “leaking out”. IOW, I don’t think empowering users to access their data from outside tools so that new companies can specialize in better mobile communication apps is just “geek-cool”, I think it’s an essential part of true innovation.

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