With content providers struggling to bring Web material to handheld devices, Bango debuted software Nov. 15 that allows anyone using a social networking site or blog to push content out to mobile phone users with a click of the "Bango Button."
The Bango Button lets content providers launch music files, photos and other media from sites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Orkut to browsers on mobile phones.
Typically, content providers build special mobile sites through which users can access content or rely on a mobile Web provider to send URLs to mobile gadget users. Alternatively, content providers can "side load" content, running a USB cable from a PC to a mobile gadget to pipe in content.
These approaches are cumbersome, barring some users from accessing social networking sites from their phones.
With the Bango Button, users can link directly to photos and other types of content stored on Web sites intended for PC browsing, automatically resizing the content for different mobile phones and presenting the download page, Bango CEO Ray Anderson told eWEEK.
Anderson showed a demonstration of how a band named Moonlife placed Bango Buttons on its MySpace page to let users get wallpapers and ring tones for their mobile phones. The buttons were slugged, plainly, "Get On My Mobile," toward the bottom of the page as if they were one-click "print" button options.
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Yankee Group Research claims one-third of all Internet users use a social networking site, and Parks Associates claims 28 percent of the estimated 1.2 billion PC Internet users read at least one blog. The eyeballs are available; making it easier to adapt content to mobile phones is the next logical step toward opening new doors for mobile users.
A Bango Button can also link directly to a mobile Web site or to mobile versions of popular PC sites such as YouTube and Flickr. Buttons can also be embedded in e-mails and easily sent to friends.
Anderson said users can easily create Bango Buttons by going to the Bango site and inserting the generated code into their own sites (or YouTube or Flickr page, for example) next to a piece of content they want to share.
When users click on the Get On My Mobile button, they get a short URL they can enter into their phone browsers to get the content on their mobile phones. Moreover, the PC browser remembers the user, so subsequent engagements are shortened thanks to cookies, which also generate links to previous Bango Button uses.
Content providers can arrange with Bango to charge users to view the content. Installing and using the Bango Button is free. Anderson said Bango expects to make money by charging for analytics and reporting capabilities that give content providers information about user behavior and traffic patterns.
There really isnt anything like the Bango Button, and while it can be considered hip, it is a gamble. Bango still has to compete with MySpace, Facebook and the myriad social networking sites looking to bring their users content to the mobile sphere.
Anderson said these sites gave the notion of the Bango Button a cool reception because their plans are to partner with Verizon, AT&T or some other carrier to get their content in front of as many viewers as possible to reach online ad goals.
"The idea of doing it from the bottom up, of empowering the MySpace users to drive mobile traffic, is alien to MySpace," Anderson said, noting that the site wants to drive users to its own community, not some other site.
Anderson said the Bango Button has an advantage because navigating the social networking sites involves more steps.
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