your real-world social network in their records that you can theoretically access through their cumbersome web interfaces. None of the cell phone companies we are aware of do a good job at presenting this information in a meaningful way, however. This is where Skydeck comes in. Skydeck, which released a major update to its service this morning, can access your provider's call data, as well as your text messages and voicemail. For a fee, Skydeck will also transcribe your voicemails and allow you to make calls directly from Skydeck's web interface.Cell phone providers hold a wealth of information about
As Skydeck's CEO and co-founder Jason Devitt pointed out to us last year, the inspiration for Skydeck came from a desire to take control of the data about your "true social network (that) is hidden in your communication records." When we first spoke to Devitt, Skydeck was 'just' a Firefox extension. Since then, Skydeck has moved away from the browser extension and now gets all its data directly from the cell phone companies, similar to what Mint does for financial records. To make use of this service, you will have to give Skydeck the login credentials for your cell phone provider, however.
Your Cell Phone, Online
Thanks to its latest updates, Skydeck not only lets you access and respond to all your text messages and voicemails, but also lets you sync the contact data on your cell phone to the web. Skydeck's interface is similar to a standard email interface, with your messages displayed in chronological order, no matter if they were calls, text messages, or voicemails. At regular intervals, Skydeck syncs up with your cell phone accounts and downloads the relevant information to its servers.
BlackBerry, Android, Windows Mobile
All of this this, however, works best on Blackberry and Android phones, with full support for Windows Mobile coming soon (the basic features work on any phone, however). So far, there is no word about support for the iPhone.
Make Calls From the Web
Skydeck's most interesting new feature is probably its ability to make calls right from the web browser. Unlike similar solutions like Google's GrandCentral, Skydeck doesn't give you a new phone number, which means that your own cell phone number will appear on the caller ID.
Skydeck also integrates with Plaxo, so that you can easily sync your address book between the two applications.
Skydeck has three monthly plans. The free demo account lets you manage your contacts, and access your basic call data, but you won't be able to make calls, access your voicemail, or get transcriptions of your voicemail. For $9.95 a month, you get all of these features, but you pay 3 cents per minute for every call within the U.S. and voicemail transcriptions cost 20 cents each. Skydeck's unlimited plan, with unlimited calling and as many voicemail transcriptions as you could ever want, will set you back $29.95 per month.
Skydeck is simply an incredibly useful service. It has far more features than we could even touch upon in this review (like organizing your contacts by how often you call them). In many ways, it is providing a service for your cell phone that we would have hoped to see from Google's GrandCentral.