Culture

'Your phone is your castle,' says Jangl

The phone rings, and you answer it hoping to hear the voice of that cute personal trainer from the gym. Instead, you almost lose your mind listening to that annoying guy you met last week drone on about his golf score.

The new phone service by Jangl could offer socially active people a safe haven from excruciating scenarios such as these.

Jangl (formerly Buzzage) is a service, based in Pleasanton, Calif., that grants its customers access to disposable phone numbers that forward to their real numbers, allowing the user to remain anonymous when both receiving and making calls.

The service, which is currently seeking participants for its beta-testing program, allows users to be more selective with people they let into their inner circle by concealing phone numbers in much the same way Web sites such as Craigslist hide their users' e-mail addresses.

The first time someone calls a Jangl number, they go through an approval process that consists of back-and-forth key commands between the caller and the Jangl user.

If the caller is approved, they're added to the "white list" and all succeeding calls are connected more quickly. If a caller is not approved, they will never know the Jangl user's true phone number. The service thus bails the user out of a number of potentially uncomfortable situations.

Instead of being caught off guard when that stranger in line who smells like a pastrami sandwich suddenly asks for the digits, a person can simply rattle off their Jangl number without blinking an eye.

And when a potential love connection or even a business transaction is in the making, Jangl users can be safe knowing they can simply and safely discard their Jangl number when the time comes to call it quits.