Thursday, 30 July 2009

One number to Phone them all...

One of the biggest challenges facing users of digital media in both professional and private areas of their lives is the difficulty in joining the dots.

By that I mean it's hard to let people know what you're about when so many online services are available. For example, I can be found on Facebook, Blogger, Skype, Twitter, Delicious, Issuu and Flickr. Each service fulfils a different need, ranging from reflective blog postings here to timely observations on Twitter, and a range of personal and professional photos on Flickr.

In the past I've tried to harmonise my digital footprint by using the same moniker - svanstraten - but even that fails to show interested parties the holistic view of what I'm doing.

So, there are two services that have grabbed my attentions recently. The first is which collects all your online streams of information and bundles it into one place. It's an excellent service and from it I've discovered that historically I've made over 631,000 online postings!

The other development comes from Google, which is trialling a one number fits all service. Basically, users get one number for friends and colleagues to dial. This one number then sends the call through to every phone device owned by the subscriber. The subscriber can decide where calls are diverted, so for example, business calls might go to your business desk and mobile phones only, while family calls go to every number that's been entered. In an age of VOIP calling, increasing mobile ownership and the growing expectation that we can be contacted whenever/wherever, it's a fascinating development, and one that could make it easier for schools to keep in touch with busy parents and digital native students. Read more here.

All in all, we're beginning to see online developers address the need to provide a range of services that link the disparate elements of online life. And that can only be a positive outcome.


Dan Felstead said...

Sacha...I am definitely wanting to try Google voice but I never signed up for Grand Central so I wasn't grandfathered in. Eventually when they release the final..I will jump in and try it. Are you trying it now?


Sacha van Straten said...

Hi Dan,

Alas the trial is USA only, so I'm stuck waiting for the service to roll out across the Atlantic.

It's one of those ideas that's a simple solution to an increasingly complex problem, and so it appeals to me.

I'll look forward to hearing your opinion on Google Voice once it becomes widely available Stateside.