Vringo Facebook: Photo caller ID the easy way

Get a sneak peek of a Facebook app that flashes your friends' Facebook profiles whenever they call your BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phone.

I'm pretty excited about Vringo's new Facebook app for a number of reasons. First, I'm a big fan of Vringo's video caller ID service , which lets users choose a video ringtone (vringo) that plays on their friends' phone when they initiate a call to said friend. Second, this new app carries Vringo's concept of personalizing the moment of phone-to-phone contact by syncing your address book with your friends' Facebook profile photos.

It takes about 5 minutes and quite a few steps to set up the service, but the directions are clear and fairly straightforward. You download one app to the phone and one to Facebook, and follow instructions to sync the phone contacts list with your Facebook friends list. It's not automatic, however. Vringo's Facebook app produces side-by-side lists of your buddies, which you match together before re-syncing your phone. The next time a friend calls, their Facebook photo blinks on for a long second, and then displays again while you're on the call.

Matching your contacts list with your friends' Facebook profiles is the next-to-last step.
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It'd be better if the image stuck around until you answered (maybe it was shy during my tests?), and if the syncing process were streamlined. Vringo's original service still nets higher points for originality and "wow" factor, but Vringo Facebook is a good fast, free way to add a little more life to calls.

Vringo Facebook is in pre-release beta for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile phones. You can get in line for the invite-only phone download at http://www.vringo.com/AppServer/fb/index.jsp.

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