A URL to replace phone numbers

Cover Image for A URL to replace phone numbers
Morten Just

Isn't it weird how we tie all our contacts to an arbitrary number? And how we change that number from time to time?

I just got a new phone number this weekend. Again. 16 times cheaper data, but no mountain coverage (or in the cafeteria at work). So I guess I have to keep the old one – and the international ones because roaming fees are surreal.

I don’t blame those of my friends who have given up in knowing which number I use. I need to find a way to get rid of phone numbers altogether, or at least one place where people can always go to see which number I’m on. No, forget about the number. Just how they can get in touch.

My new phone number is: call.mortenjust.com.

This is what it looks like immediately after touching one of the options above:

Call and SMS use the phone’s native apps. Skype goes directly to the Skype app.

And now the fun stuff:

It checks my location on Google Latitude. It then chooses the phone number I use in that country. It also shows the country on the Call button to let the caller decide if they want to spend the money.

It lets me change the number manually. Here’s what that could look like.

It checks if I’m available on Skype. If  yes, show the Skype button.

It checks if the caller is in the same country as me. Actually I thought I would use this to determine if the Skype option should be available, but then I realised there’s never really a time where you really want to pay too much for a phone call.

It shows what time it is where I am. I thought about also showing the address I’m at, but it doesn’t really seem necessary.

It protects my privacy. By having users log in with Facebook or Google, I can control who gets to see which ways of reaching me simply by adding them to a specific list or even automatically granting access to the top 10 most contacted on GMail today.

Of course this is not the solution. In the ideal world identity and infrastructure would be strictly separated on the phone systems, just like it is on the internet. Well, we would use the internet to place calls and send texts. We would all be on the same service and use our friend lists on that service to place calls and write texts. And it would be free.

In this world people dread roaming fees and huge data costs, and some people mysteriously still walk around with huge feature phones from 2001.

UPDATE: It’s not an app, but you can save it on you home screen from Safari

UPDATE 2: I’m considering open sourcing or making a really simple and free way getting a hosted call page. Thanks for the interest! If you want one right now let me send you the PHP source.

UPDATE 3: Google Code: phone-url. Open source, MIT license.

UPDATE 4: Yes, I agree. Next step is to get rid of URLs to remember. There’s an experiment for that, too.

UPDATE 5: We have an FAQ and a roadmap now.

UPDATE 6: The world moved on to instant messaging.

Automatically exported from code.google.com/p/phone-url - mortenjust/phone-url

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