Social Network Incorporates Softphone

SIPphone, Inc. and Six Apart Limited (parent companies of Gizmo Project and LiveJournal) have at least two things in common: a belief in the power of communication and community, and an open-source outlook on technology.

Yesterday, the two companies announced, among other things, that a customized version of the softphone Gizmo Project would be the preferred IM/voice client for the soon-to-be-launched LJ Talk IM/voice service, which will run on LiveJournal’s just-announced, home-built Jabber server.

LiveJournal is an online community organized around personal journals, social networks, and interest-based groups. Community members can restrict access to their pages or make them fully public. Each member has a “Friends” page, and the principal optimization of Gizmo Project in its incarnation as “Gizmo Project for LJ Talk” is the integration of Gizmo’s Contact list with LiveJournal’s Friends page.

LiveJournal users will be able to see the online status or “presence” of all their friends, and when they’re online, they can call them or send instant messages, free of charge. In effect, LiveJournal users will have access to the full Gizmo Project community, not just their LJ friends, and will be able to use the Gizmo network including calls to the PSTN—recently made free for much of the world, including all of the U.S. and Canada.

Within the LiveJournal context, users will be able to post IMs as journal material,;they’ll also be able to use Gizmo to record podcasts or “voice posts.”

Journal users will have access to all of Gizmo’s features—such as MapIt, which shows the locations of both call participants, call record, voicemail, and free multiparty conference calls.

SIPphone president Jason Droege pointed out, “Because these features are based on the robust open standards of SIP and Jabber, LiveJournal users will always be able to communicate with the largest number of people around the world, including LiveJournal friends, other Gizmo Project users, and users of other Jabber-based and SIP-based communities.”

Six Apart CEO Barak Berkowitz remarked, in a similar vein: “LiveJournal has always been open source because we are passionate about keeping it a platform for innovation. We want to make it easy for people to build services on top of the LiveJournal platform. And we want to make it easy for other services to connect to our open platform.”

Indeed, Six Apart has already declared its new Jabber server—which it built to scale to its 2 million-active-user community running on a server cluster—as freely available to any person or organization what wishes to use it. (Go here for further information.)

Gizmo Project for LJ Talk is among the first of what SIPphone plans to be many custom-adapted, custom-branded softphone implementations, the goal of a partner program recently launched by the San Diego company.

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