NTT Com, Japan has launched a social networking service (SNS) that families can use to share pictures and schedules through their mobile phones. The beta version of "fami navi" ("family navigation"), is initially targeted towards families. NTT Com expects its SNS service to build a better tomorrow by helping to strengthen family bonds, foundation of our socities.
NTT Com offers the service for free (packet data charges may apply from the carriers). Fami Navi is currently compatible with NTT DOCOMO, au and SOFTBANK handsets equipped with Flash®Lite™ 1.1 or above.
Since the the network id geared towards the family units, there are a limit of 20 members to a unit. With small families that Japan has, this limit will not prevent a few generations be in touch where ever they are during the day. I am not sure what happens when a member has multiple memberships! As of now, one person registers as the site manager and then can invite up to 19 other family members to register.
With current services, photos, usually those taken with a camera-equipped mobile phones, could be shared with family or unit members. One also will be able to create a slide show with a compilation of these photos with a provided application, and the same could be used as a Flash Video standby screen for handsets.
The other prominent service, calendering or scheduling is uniue in itself. There is nothing new from traditional calendering service but having it available on your mobile device might make it easier to be home before dinner. Everyone’s schedule can be viewed by other members anytime and anyplace making it easier to plan family functions together. Members can receive an automatic e-mail reminders before special days, such as birthdays and other anniversaries.
As usual with Japanese Internet culture, A variety of graphics are available to decorate messages exchanged among the members. Members also encouraged to access the site frequently. Each time a person accesses the site, a decorative item such as virtual flower or building block icon is added to the site and that reflects the frequency of use. When the site collects a certain number of flowers/blocks within a given time, the members can receive a present from fami navi, such as a photo album template.