Jangl, the guys that brought you anonymous numbers, has retooled its service today. Jangl’s old service was geared toward people simply wishing to keep their phone number private.
Users could give their number to Jangl and get an ID in return. Whoever had the ID could go to Jangl.com, enter their own number, and get a number to call them back on. A separate phone number was made for each person who used the ID. A Jangl user could then decide which numbers they would accept or reject based on who the announced caller was. Don’t want to talk? Kill the number and never be bothered again. Once accepted, the caller could phone you directly in the future without every giving up your real digits.
While simple, the process still required users to jump through some hoops, such as going to the Jangl home page and looking up an ID. Today’s release removes a lot of that friction and refocuses Jangl as platform for calling between people who don’t want to share their number, but also between people who can’t know each other’s numbers because they’re not expecting a call.
Jangl users will now be able to essentially call anyone with an email address. You just drop your own number and their email address into a form on the Jangl site and you get a local number to call them at. When you call the number, you’ll record whatever message you like. A link to the recorded message will be emailed to the person along with a local number (local to them) to call you back on without revealing their real number. It’s easy to see that Jangl could use this feature to transition other modes of communication on to the phone by expanding the modes they invite people through.
Rounding out the offering will be some other modes of displaying your Jangl number, such as a revamped Jangl widget and call me link. Jangl is pushing the voice mail feature out to these products as well to deal with a projected increase in the volume of calls. Jangl users won’t be bothered with every call to their phone, but will instead scan a list of voice mails from new callers and choose to connect or not.
In the long run, Jangl plans to make money off of hosting long distance VOIP calls. Social networking’s internationalization seems to be a ripe breeding for these types of calls. Members may choose to first connect call over Jangl instead of message or email, and then hold on to the number instead of switching over to other VOIP plans offering similar long distance discounts.