Jangl: What’s the Point?

Om Malik has a a post on Jangl which has been getting lots of coverage over the past few days.

Lets’ say if you meet someone and the only information you have about them, is their email address. You can go to Jangl website, and enter their email address. The Jangl system assigns them a temporary phone number, and allows you to leave them a voice mail message, which is then forwarded to their email inbox.

I can’t for the life of me figure out what problem this solves for a user. If the only information I have on someone is their email address, I’d sent them an email. If I wanted to talk to them, that email would say, “what’s your phone number?” This seems to me like a solution without a problem.

Jangl is almost the mirror image of SimulScribe, and SpinVox which are reviewed in today’s WSJ (subscription). These services transcribe the audio from your voicemail and email the text to you. This is of great value if you live by email and spend a lot of time in meetings.

Pro-sumer Unifed Messaging

Heavy email users with a number of addresses struggle to integrate all these addresses into a single webmail client. If I have a Gmail address and a Yahoo address, one for business and one for personal, I have to log into each account and check them separately. Most desktop clients allow you pull mail from multiple accounts into a single store, but if you work from multiple machines, it helps if you have similar functionality in a web tool.

Techcrunch has an announcement of Orgoo that is working on a web based solution that also offers Meebo-style IM aggregation:

Not only does it emulate Outlook-style desktop mail applications extremely well, it also integrates instant messaging from all of the major IM providers directly into the interface. If you are looking for a service-independent webmail/IM service, you’ll want to check this out.

Comcast’s SmartZone using the Zimbra platform is more compelling because of the potential to access VoIP voice mail in the same interface as email. But Orgoo has the benefit of being network independent. Comcast’s offering will only be available to their subscribers.

There is a lot going on in consumer space for unified messaging tools like these and it should be an interesting space to watch. Orgoo’s beta is closed and I’m not in Comcast territory, so I’m not yet able to play with either of these tools.