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Merging Your Mobile and Online Worlds

Kim Hart

A handful of companies here are trying to find ways to use video and voice to communicate across computers and mobile devices. A few fell a bit flat with the audience due to technical difficulties and hard-to-use interfaces.

But a few got some good nods from the crowd. One is Ribbit, a Mountain View, Calif. company that today introduced a product called Amphibian, which lets you merge your mobile phone with your online world. The technology allows people to sync their cell phone to their computer, making it possible to make calls over the Internet. It also transcribes voice messages into text messages. And you can search through them without ever picking up your cellphone.

One of its coolest features blends Web 2.0 features with caller ID--Ribbit calls it Caller ID 2.0. When someone is calling you, it not only displays their name but also pulls in images from their Flickr account, their Facebook profile, their LinkedIn messages and any other network to which they belong. So you not only know who's calling, but you know what they've been up to by seeing what they've Twittered or by looking at their status message.

You download an image of a phone, which might look like the iPhone, or Ribbit's own "Chalk Phone," which is basically a Web page that functions like a phone but displays and erases with a click of the mouse. The phones can live on your iGoogle page or any other start-page that you keep open most of the day.

I happened to be sitting next to Gary Morgenthaler, general partner at Morgenthaler Ventures, one of the oldest firms on Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley. He confirmed my own first impressions when he turned to me and said "That's really cool!" after Ribbit's demonstration.

By Kim Hart  |  January 29, 2008; 1:31 PM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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Don from Ribbit here. Hi Kim, thanks for covering our announcement. If you're still at DEMO, come by the Pavilion so we can give you a deeper look.


Posted by: Don Thorson | January 30, 2008 9:29 AM

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