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MySpace calls Skype for ‘Net telephony, Part 2

While I never imagined myself giving serious writing time to MySpace, here I am, doing exactly that — and for the second time, too. However, even with my incredulity well & truly suspended, the idea of Skype and MySpace teaming up does actually warrant more than a passing glance…

In the first installment, I looked at the prospect of a Skype mobile phone and how things might or might not develop for Skype in such a volatile yet mature market. In this final installment, I’ll be looking at what shape a Skype-MySpace partnership might take.

Skype + WiFi = walking the talk?

“The birthplace of municipal Wi-Fi was possibly the London Borough of Westminster, and it appears that the idea of the wireless is catching on in cities worldwide. Indeed, some are looking at wireless Mesh technology with Taipei, Los Angeles, and New York among the more prominent.”

So as the world warms to WiFi, those at Skype have probably found themselves in a pretty unique place, especially amongst the business crowd. Even more so if their mobile phone can be used to connect a non-WiFi enabled laptop to said municipal WiFi.

As we move forward, communication becomes a very wide and expansive thing, involving various data types:

“Communication is now all about voice, data, video and IM (Instant Messaging) these days, most of which are easier said than done. And therein lies the problem — all of these mediums require different needs, different approaches and different ways of being used.”

For those players that can pull these threads together into something structured and cohesive, there’s money to be made. For the likes of Google — similarly said to be poised to launch their own mobile phone — it’s yet another chance to push adverts to an audience with a degree more specificity, in that adverts will be targeted regionally and not just geographically.

MySpace x Skype phone = micro-blogging?

And then when you factor in the prospect of Twitter-esque capabilities, it’s easy to see how a Skype mobile phone and MySpace quickly adds up. Very quickly, Skype and MySpace build upon social networking by adding mobile micro-blogging:

“Social Networks aren’t these rigid edifices, tethered to servers, themselves ensconced in air-conditioned rooms somewhere in the world. No, technology is best served as an enabler to life, love and business. And what do we know about life, love and business? They’re often on the move.”

So where Twitter, Jaiku et al and micro-blogging are looking for an audience, MySpace & Skype would be bolting micro-blogging onto their services. I’ll leave you to figure out which is the easier of the two approaches.

It’s already possible to post from Skype to Twitter, which goes beyond the stand-alone antics of Twitter clients like Twitterific for the Mac. So if we then go from Skype to MySpace…

Music, MySpace, mobile phones and micro-blogging?!

… Now, things start to get really, really interesting when you give consideration to the growing music scene within MySpace:

“So you’re out somewhere, you spot the right venue, you’ve got your stuff, you’re ready to roll, now all you need is an audience. You’ve got your Twitter account, you’ve got hundreds if not thousands of friends. You whip out your mobile phone, you tap out a text message and wait for the people to emerge from anywhere & everywhere and you’re off to flyin’ start!”

OK, so replace the reference to Twitter with something like your Skype mobile phone and posting to your MySpace friends .. but you get the idea, right?

Skype and MySpace != (Facebook + MSN Messenger)

But there’s a very sobering issue for MySpace to contend with, and that’s Facebook, who are even giving Google sleepless nights these days. Facebook is growing rapidly and assuming a lot of the pace and purpose of MySpace, while looking infinitely less crap into the bargain.

Also, things still aren’t exactly all well & good for Skype, whose principle audience is a business one. So it’s going to be interesting to see how they adapt to the MySpace crowd, who’re probably more familiar with MSN Messenger — an IM (Instant Messaging) client that’s a awash with inane and idiotic widgets & doodads that generally keep teens fascinated for whole minutes at a time.

Looking at what Skype are hoping to achieve, there are definitely plenty of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to contend with. The big test for Skype is their first step into telephony, which could be their last — and SkypeOut could have a whole new meaning…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.