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11/4/2009
12:25 PM
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Google Voice Challenger Ribbit Mobile Launches

The company is not yet positioning its cloud-based phone messaging service as an enterprise offering.

Ribbit Mobile has launched a cloud-based service that enables users to combine multiple phone numbers, make calls from the Internet, and receive transcribed voicemails.

Like Google Voice, Ribbit lets calls ring multiple phone numbers and can transcribe voicemails as searchable text files. Upon receiving a call, Ribbit Mobile can ring various landline, mobile, and soft phones services such as Skype and Google Talk, and users can answer and initiate calls from a PC. Unlike Google's offerings, Ribbit Mobile users don't have to adopt a new number, as it works with existing mobile phone numbers.

Ribbit described the offering as a form of personal customer-relationship management (CRM). Users will also be able to see a caller's Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn messages when receiving a call. Ribbit said this "caller ID 2.0" gives context to verbal conversations. An online backup service is also offered.

Ribbit's service will be open to third-party developers, which is why the company is not yet positioning its service as an enterprise offering. The company said it is focused on building a solid communications platform that can be used by developers for consumers and businesses alike. iPhone and BlackBerry application are on the way, and Ribbit says it envisions multiple enterprise-focused apps eventually emerging from the developer community.

The company will also be rolling out a developer rewards program which will compensate content creators based on how much their apps are used. This is aimed at making Ribbit's app process more of a meritocracy than other app environments, the company said.

The service is currently in beta. It includes unlimited automated voicemail transcriptions and calls. Ribbit Mobile will have tiered pricing that ranges from free to $30 a month when it comes out of beta. Users can sign up at Ribbit's Web site for an invitation.


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