UK mobile network O2 has launched a free service for its customers, allowing them to backup all of their contacts, text and picture messages, and create online albums and blogs.
Anyone with a compatible phone and either a monthly contract or pre-pay account with O2 can set up a Bluebook account. Within this, an unlimited number of Blueblogs can be created.
Blueblogs are intended to be used to document a person’s life, and can be created from the content already stored on a mobile phone, as well as from a PC.
Blog entries can be created directly from a mobile phone, and it’s as simple as sending a free text or picture message to the short code “40202″, starting with the word “blog”.
All blog entries and comments are moderated by O2 — it’s not clear whether this is an automated or human process, though I’d suspect a combination of the two leaning heavily on automatic filters — so it can take up to an hour for them to be published once sent. This would make it difficult to “live blog” an event — best use Twitter or another microblogging service for that.
Blueblogs are either published (globally accessible) or unpublished (private) — there are no other security levels. O2 suggests that if users want to create content only for a selected group of contacts, they should use the Albums module instead.
O2 says that an unlimited number of Blueblogs can be created, though I’m not sure whether O2 is using “blog” and “post” interchangeably, as there’s no obvious way of selecting which blog to publish to. However, if a user sends a message via the phone, it automatically goes to their primary blog.
Blogs can be keyword tagged, and comments can be deleted.
The system sounds like a cross between Twitter and regular blogging. I can imagine that it will be easier for many people to write micro-blog posts, given the nature of text messaging.
The moderation delay could be a pain — even if someone commented straight away on a post you’ve published it could be two hours from the time the article was sent to the time the comment is published. That could lead to slow conversations — if conversations take off. Hopefully O2 will work on speeding this up, though I understand their reluctance to allow self-moderation or a free-for-all. O2 does state that the maximum time for moderation should be under an hour.
I’ve signed up for the service but haven’t yet tried out a Blueblog. Hats off to O2 — I had some problems registering on Wednesday, but O2 actually sent me a text message to apologise and asked me to try logging in again. Very nice bit of automation there.
Anyone in the UK with O2 can sign up at bluebook.o2.co.uk