Remember that pivotal moment in the horror film When A Stranger Calls, when the babysitter gets the news that "The call is coming from inside the house?" It's a jaw-dropping revelation. If the new app Robo.to has anything to do with it, Jill would probably have a little too much information about who was calling.
Available later this year for iPhone and Android phones, Robo.to skips the humdrum caller ID screen and gives the party receiving the call a slew of information—videos, photos, Twitter and LinkedIn profile updates, and current location. Don't forget to actually answer the call.
New features tend to be about new revenue streams. With Robo.to, details about your friends and family, and who you call and text most, are stored in a contacts folder. Think about what would happen if an app merged that info with the data available on Facebook and Twitter—that relentless stream of personal information is a boon for not only carriers but (you guessed it) advertisers.
"Carriers want to help users socialise their address books. That’s the big 2010 emphasis for them as it unlocks so much power," an industry executive told the Financial Times. Well, sure. Access to that contact list, with everything from social network updates to YouTube uploads and Flickr photo streams, is a big score. Are we being paranoid or is Robo.to just a benign new "video business card" that makes phone calls more fun?
It's worth noting that in a Robo.to version of "When A Stranger Calls," that infamous moment would look a bit more like this:
Curt Duncan calling!
LinkedIn Title: Merchant Seaman
Twitter: OMG these kids have the cutest toyz! They are Q-Ts! Sleepy time......
Location: Inside the House
A little less climactic.
[Via The Financial Times]