Online social communities have gone a long way in breaking down traditional barriers to communication. So, adding direct voice to the mix seems like a natural developmentespecially now that computers are so good at making phone calls.
SIPphone, Inc. and Six Apart Limited began work in mid-summer to integrate SIPphone's Gizmo Project softphone technology into Six Apart's online community LiveJournal. As of today, that project has come to fruition. LiveJournal members who download the software can now call their "Friends" (fellow members/contacts) directly from their Friends page using Gizmo Project for LJ Talk.
"Social communities such as MySpace or LiveJournal must constantly innovateto compete and to keep users. Adding VoIP and IM services for everyone immediately takes the whole community to a new level," said Jason Droege, president of SIPphone. "Today LiveJournal just beat everyone else to the punch."
Specifically, the two companies succeeded in melding Gizmo Project's softphone technology with LiveJournal's site architecture, such that the Gizmo contact list is fully synchronized with the LJ user's Friends page.
In addition to high-quality voice connections, Gizmo's other fundamental featurespresence and instant messagingare now available to LiveJournal users as well. They will be able to see Friends' online status (active, away, or do not disturb) at a glance and not only send IMs but incorporate text from IM threads into their online journal content.
Actually, the IM option is not confined to the LiveJournal/Gizmo Project community; LJ users can communicate directly with members of any Jabber-based IM network, including GoogleTalk.
In effect, participating LiveJournal members become full members of the Gizmo Project/SIPphone community, able to make free or low-cost landline and cell-phone-terminated calls as well as peer-to-peer PC-based calls, both local and international.
Gizmo's conference calling capability (connecting up to 99 simultaneous participants) is also part of the deal, as is Gizmo Project's call-recording feature, which will, among other things, allow LiveJournal users to create and post audio content to their journals.
"Both of our companies have worked hard to make the integration smooth and powerful," commented LiveJournal founder and Six Apart Chief Architect, Brad Fitzpatrick. "Users will benefit from having both voice and IM capabilities, and LiveJournal is excited to be able to keep building on this, providing ever more features on top of this platform," he said.