Deep dialing service Fonolo is now open to everyone. Previously in private beta, the tool lets you browse company phone trees and dial straight to that section, skipping having to sit through tedious voice menus or remember specific buttons to press. Better yet, it does it all without you having to actually dial the number on your phone.
Sinceit's increased its list of companies from 50 to over 300. Still missing, however, is the option to record calls, which should let people easily document horrific or wonderful customer service experiences to share with others.
For a holiday angle on this, tools like Fonolo can be helpful if you're trying to save time calling hotels, car rental places, airlines, and retailers about return and exchange policies. In the case of Alaska Airlines I was able to go in and save about a minute and a half by using Fonolo to get to the right department.
The service will apparently remain free throughout its beta period. Possible monetization routes include pre-call advertisements, and a premium service that tacks on more features. There's also an iPhone app in development that will let you browse through and call companies, which is due in early 2009.