Well, that didn’t last very long. Shortly after T-Mobile announced a new app integrated into Facebook chat allowing users to chat with friends on Facebook using VoIP voice chat, Facebook shuts it down. The app, called Bobsled by T-Mobile, plugged-in to Facebook Chat and allowed users to essentially make phone calls with Facebook. Facebook pulled the plug on the app today citing that Boblsed by T-Mobile had not made it clear that the new feature is actually a third-party app and not developed by Facebook. Bobsled announced on their Facebook page that the service is being suspended, but only temporarily:
We are voluntarily and temporarily suspending the Bobsled service as we work with our partners at Facebook to address their design questions, including working to ensure that the Bobsled experience is clearly differentiated and is not mistaken for a Facebook created property. We apologize to our customers for this temporary disruption in service.
When we tested the Bobsled there was no confusion that the plugin was designed by T-Mobile, but it was definitely unclear how much of a partnership existed, or was being developed, between T-Mobile and Facebook. The initial design and VoIP integration into Facebook chat was smooth, so I’m hopeful any “differentiation” required of Bobseld by T-Mobile does not change the user experience. I noted last week that the Bobsled by T-Mobile app for Facebook could be a Skype killer, considering the ease of connecting via voice to all of my Facebook friends without having to track them down via Skype or phone to voice chat. Now that I can rest easy that Facebook has not partnered with T-Mobile (which might eventually become AT&T, and that’s a little scary) – I can only hope for the same experience upon Bobsled’s return.
Did you try the Boblsed by T-Mobile plugin before Facebook shut it down? Would you use VoIP in Facebook Chat, or do you prefer external services like Skype?