Jangl adds privacy to text messages
Jangl now lets you set up phone numbers for relationships that work for voice and text messaging.
Jangl is one of a group of "J" communications companies (others being Jajah, Jaxtr, and 3Jam) that offers users interesting Web-controlled communications for their mobile phones. Jangl's latest trick: You can now use Jangl numbers for SMS text messages, not just voice.
With Jangl, once you establish a connection with someone, you get a mobile phone number for that person that hides their true number. When you call this private number, you'll get routed to Web-based voice mail, unless the callee has authorized you to reach them directly, in which case your call goes through to their phone. Or, if the person on the other end tires of you utterly, they can block you from reaching them at all. No matter the access level you have, the one thing you don't get is the other person's actual phone number--only your own access number for the person.
Now you can use that number as a destination for SMS messages. And if the person you're messaging replies back to you, their message gets routed through the Jangl servers so their number is not revealed.
Jangl already has a widget you can embed in a blog or social network page that lets people reach you direct from the Web, and it will get updated so it can also send (and receive) text messages. The goal, according to Jangl CEO Michael Cerda, is to make the mobile phone an extension of the social network experience, while putting privacy and controls on the incoming communications so users aren't afraid of getting bombarded on their mobiles. Jangl's method of white-, gray- and black-listing users takes care of that.
It's not something you'd need to use with your close personal friends, but if you want connect your mobile to your public Facebook profile, it's a good way to do so.
Coming later, Cerda told me, Jangl will add interactive MMS functionality: You'll be able to create an MMS feedback system that offers different options to different callers. So if you're having a party, for example, the people you've invited would see the option to show directions to it, but other people would not.
I should also note that Jangl has scrapped its awkward "Jangl ID" system that I complained about a year ago. Now all you need to connect to someone on Jangl is their e-mail address.
I've embedded my personal Jangl widget after the jump. Try it out.