Jangl’s new social voice service, first step to white pages of Voice 2.0?

18 Comments

Jangl, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based start-up that launched last year as an anonymous calling service, is getting ambitious, and has launched a new service, which on the face of it might indicate a desire to cash in on the social networking hype, but in reality could turn the company into the white pages of the web-voice world.


The press release, especially the title, is a turn off smacking of a start-up over hyping itself. I almost passed on this, up until I read this post by Alec Saunders, and started thinking about the longer implications of what Jangl announced.

Here are the basics of this service:

Lets’ say if you meet someone and the only information you have about them, is their email address. You can go to Jangl website, and enter their email address. The Jangl system assigns them a temporary phone number, and allows you to leave them a voice mail message, which is then forwarded to their email inbox.

They can choose to call you back, using Jangl assigned temporary number. You can do the same with someone’s instant messaging identity as well.

Now if a lot of people use this service – hence the social networking push – Jangl can quietly build a directory. You can enter anyone’s email address and find him or her in this directory or white pages. If their plans works, and service gets adoption, Jangl becomes the next generation SIP directory. (Aswath, any thoughts?)

From Jangl’s business perspective, it is part of Jangl’s evolution as a voice services company, moving beyond the anonymous calling (which is paying some of the bills right now.) It also allows the company to compete with Jaxtr and Wengo in the social networking/social media space.

18 Comments

Jangl is the new Rebtel

More than as a new presence application or the Voice 2.0 White Pages I see the new Jangl as a competition to Rebtel, whithout its basic fee, or to Gizmo Call’s free local numbers. People are tweaking given services, like Jangl, for their own purposes and establishing their own free networks.

Markus Goebel

Hi Om,

why did you delete my comment?

It told about the fact that the Jangle feature can be used to issue free local VoIP numbers and thus make every international call a local call.

Don’t you want people to hear this?

Ben Dean

Also just to clarify, Jangl does indeed provide 2-way “privacy”. After I get a Jangl number and leave you a voicemail, you can get a Jangl number to call me back. Now we both have numbers to call that aren’t our real numbers, and we never see each other’s real numbers – when you call me I the Jangl number I use to call you for caller ID.

The nice thing is Jangl provides this 2-way privacy by giving people phone numbers that works just like any other phone number they use – they can dial, screen, use caller ID, view missed calls, store in their phone Contacts, and even send a text message, just like any other number.

Ben Dean (Jangl CTO & Co-founder)

On the “anonymous” issue, one thing to keep in mind is that our origins at Jangl are based on anonymity but we have learned a lot and evolved. This product is an embodiment of that evolution, yet we also power products like MatchTalk which people have coined anonymous. Actually as a company we have stayed away from the term, but as Om points out, in the absence of a more accurate term, “anonymous” is something that helps people start to understand our service, and that’s a good thing.

I don’t think it’s quite a farce though, as some of our services could be considered anonymous with respect to phone numbers, since your number is “not named or identified”. Also, according to the third definition above, no voice communication could EVER be truly anonymous because your voice is both distinctive and recognizable – once we talk, I’ll recognize you the next time you call, and perhaps if I overheard you talking on the street. So I’m not sure it makes sense to apply a strict definition here.

What we have learned though is that letting people place and receive calls with other people without either of their numbers being revealed – whatever it’s called – is valuable and is the key to bridging the web and the phone. And that is what our new product is about.

Om Malik

abc123,

i think in the international case, this scenario is actually pretty powerful. I have been staying in touch with a few friends via Jaxtr and Jangl, and well, it is pretty good to not have to deal with phones.

Aswath

How about “Proxied”? By the way, when they move to native IP communications, they still have to handle the media flow and can not plan on using a direct (usually called P2P) flow between the end-points.

Om Malik

Hey abc123 and GSM, good points. will you settle for virtual anonymity.

In case of Jangl on Match.com, since the phone numbers are protected, there is a sense of anonymity.

I agree with you by the way, but couldn’t come up with a better way of describing it. Any help?

abc123

I dont understand how anyone can claim this is anonymous. The example in the article cites the initial reason for someone using jangl as calling someone they already MET (no anonymity there), and only have the person’s email address, not their phone number. So why go through all the trouble of registering with jangl as opposed to just shooting them a quick email asking for their number (or giving them yours and asking for them to call you)? I guess the only real benefit would be if the person you email is international and somehow you can make the call free for the or much cheaper, but there are already services that do that like Skype, JaJah and Jaxtr. Jangl looks like a very complicated way to complete a pretty standard task, and I cant see a reason that I personally would ever use it.

GSM Man

This is not anonymity — it is only 1 way.

Virtual worlds / social networks need REAL anonymous 2-way communication.

This is a farce. It is not anonymous.

By definition it is not.

According to Webster:

1 : not named or identified
2 : of unknown authorship or origin
3 : lacking individuality, distinction, or recognizability

Therefore, Jangl is NOT ANONYMOUS.

Please stop saying that it is.

Michael Cerda

Aswath:

We can’t theorize details like this; it would be ignoring what the consumer of the future looks like and wants. Will they have SIP URIs and when? Should we issue them ourselves or just cooperate with them? Our point is, we’ll provide consumers utility that matters, in modes that matter. We’re reeling in some of the promise of SIP, bit by bit. Who knows who’s registered where at that point?

I am heading out to a press thing right now, so if you comment back, it’s not because I’m not interested.

Aswath

Michael:

Let us move the clock forward and you are issuing SIP URIs. Do your subscribers register their SIP clients with you or do they continue to have their own registrars? If it is the latter then I do not see how things have changed from the current (yes, you have eliminated one directory service, but how do you ensure currency of the information?); if it is the former, then yes you do have white pages, but consisting only of your customer base.

Michael Cerda

Aswath, it’s also premature to determine this won’t be a SIP directory.

Look, we’re building to a SIP vision. It’s not here today, and the masses don’t know or care about it today. So rather than trying to issue SIP URIs today and forcing the issue, the idea here is to build services that collapse communications silos. And solving the privacy problem needed to be first, so we did that. Now we’re moving on and expanding this in the form of services that anyone (not just geeks) can use.

Michael Cerda

Seb – People meet digitally now, in that context. They know email addresses, IM handles, user names, etc, that’s it. Jangl will make all that an onramp to using Jangl. Why Jangl?

-Keep your digits private
-Call internationally for free
-Control who can call you when & what happens when they do
-Make/receive voice mails or talk/text – your choice
-More to come…

Aswath

I am in the process of analyzing their new offering and till now I see less than what others see. But it is premature. A full analysis needs to wait for a later time. But one thing is for certain – they can not become a SIP directory. Let us say that, the whole world has signed up. Then what Jangl has created is a directory of email/IM addresses that map to a 10 digit phone number that somebody else maps it to a SIP URI which then gets mapped to an IP address by the VoIP provider. Since Jangl is sitting at the inital stage of this mapping serpentine, they can not guarantee reliable mapping.

By the way, I can not resist taking a dig at you for so easily giving them the Voice 2.0 moniker. One of the feature we should be demanding of “2.0” anything is disintermediation. But what they seem to have done is firmly planted themselves between me and my contacts.

Seb

Well… Why would I leave a voice message if I simply can email him/her and eventually ask for a phone #?

KR

This is a clever idea that Jangl is working on. I believe that in the early stages, before the spamsters hijack the service, it will be very useful and cool.

The Jangl and Twitters of the world are threatening to spam up our phones. There will be a huge opportunity for phone spam filtering/blocking services to keep unsolicited messaging out.

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