Indian telecom operator Aircel has tied up with social networking site Facebook to allow users to update their Facebook status by recording a voice message. This follows previous initiatives with Facebook, allowing users to update their status via SMS (Facebook on SMS), Voice Messaging on Facebook and Music Connect. While the Facebook Voice SMS application was launched in 2009, Aircel enabled Facebook mobile through SMS last year. Music Connect lets users  listen to songs online or on IVR and share it as their Facebook status.

The launch of voice updates on Facebook mirrors the ‘My Voice’ launched by Naspers and TenCent owned social networking site Ibibo last year.

– How Facebook Voice Updates On Aircel Work

Aircel users will have to dial 51555 from their phones, select their preferred language, enter login details  and record a 30 second message that they wish to set as their Facebook status. They can also post voice updates on a friend’s profile and send a friend request for using this service. The Aircel site suggests that users can also listen to their friends’ updates, reply to them, get notifications, find new friends and receive alerts for events.  When users update their profiles with a voice message, their status update displays controls to play the file and their friends receive SMS notifications.

According to the FAQs listed on the site, the call will be charged at Re 1 per minute and there will be a subscription charge of Rs 5 per week for using the service, which is renewed automatically every week. In case the user’s number is registered with Facebook the IVR will just prompt him to enter his password for the first time through the keypad. If its not registered then he would need to enter the User name as well. After Facebook validates the login details, the user will be able to access his account over voice.

Ibibo’s service was a little different: users needed to click on a link or send an SMS request after which they received a voice call from Ibibo to record their voice message.

Copyright Issues & Karaoke License

An Aircel advertisement I heard on the Radio today featured someone singing the song ‘Tere Mast Mast Do Nain’ from the movie Dabangg, and sharing it with his friends as a Facebook status update. That amounts to publishing the song on Facebook, and Aircel appears to be encouraging users to publish their versions of songs to Facebook: wouldn’t this require a Karaoke license from music companies? The carrier is also promoting the service through print media with a half page ad in a national daily.

Earlier, Ibibo was taken to court by T-Series in 2009  over its iSinger online music contest.

Related:

– Ibibo Enables Voice Based Status Updates Via Mobile; Group SMS
– Reliance Launches User Generated Caller Tune Service; Liability
– Blyk To Launch Services With Aircel In India