Is Google Hangouts Trying to Get Rid of your Phone Number?

Geek Smack! Show

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What an awesome week in Austin TX for SXSW! Of course, we cannot forget the tragedy that followed the event this year. If that would have happened 24 hours earlier, I might have been part of it. That is how fragile life is.

I took NAB off the schedule for now unless I find a last minute sponsor. If you would like to help out, let me know.

This weekend, Jennifer and I went to her sister’s house. We watched Frozen for the first time. Its interesting how a good movie can change your mindset. Let it go.

Two new products in the review bin – the AMD R7 250 video card and the Blue Mic Nessie (which I am using in this episode). I give my thoughts on these products.

Show notes are getting a slight change – moving the links to the bottom. I explain why during the YouTube Live section.

Last nights’ TWIGG was awesome! We had Carole Baskin from Big Cat Rescue on the show talking about how she uses Glass in taking care of the cats.


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Geek Smack: Is Google Gearing Hangouts to Replace the Number?

If I say “Klondide 5-1212” do you know what I mean? What about “Watson, come here! I need you?”

These are what we would do before the North American Numbering Plan – aka the 10 digit phone number – came into play. Klondike 5-1212 was the standard 555-1212 number you would hear about in TV or movies. But we don’t “Klondike” anymore because we don’t talk to the operator.

We don’t talk to anyone on the phone.

The phone number has been incorporated into today’s technology in cell and . Voice over IP pretty much replaced land line technology. But in order to remember who to call, we used a system we were familiar with – one that really could have been retired over 5 years ago.So what if the phone number was no longer part of the equation?

Today, it was rumored that Google is merging their “” into Hangouts. If you have an phone running Kit Kat, you know they already merged the messages and IM into this one service. But with Voice moving to Hangouts, will that ultimately get rid of your phone number?

Lets hope so.

Think about it – we don’t call anyone anymore. We text, MMS, chat and – in some cases – hangout. To have to call someone seems like a big inconvenience for everyone.Up until 5 years ago, if I said “Tell me your spouses phone number”, most would be able to recite without issue. Jump forward to today.

Every now and then I seem to run into that ubiquitous part of the conversation where we realize we don’t know those phone numbers we used to memorize.

Thank you Smartphone.

If you are still paying high prices for talk and text minutes, you should really call your cell phone provider. Most of them have changed those 450 minutes and night and weekends free options into a $30 unlimited plan. Why? We don’t use them anymore.

The CTIA has noted that we don’t talk on our phones anymore. In fact, since the was introduced in 2007, average talk time plateaued. We still take up 2.2 trillion minutes of talk time a year, but compared to the ratio of new phone numbers out there, that number is dropping. Add in more people using Hangouts and Facetime, that number will start to drop faster in the next 5 years.

People can find us using Google+ or Facebook. Why can’t we just push a “Call” button without even having to remember a 10 digit number? Better yet, not having to know that international code to call someone in Europe, Japan, Russia, or another country?

I would not be surprised if the first “Numberless” smartphone will hit the market within the next year. In five years, the decline of phone numbers will begin to the point that in 10 years, we’ll be trying to remember our old cell phone numbers…

In the meantime, let me know what you think! Call me at 608-205-4378!

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Geek Smack! is a weekly video show and podcast that comes out every Tuesday evening. Your host: Jeffrey Powers – talks tech news, IT news and geek news for the week. Geek Smack! is ©2014 under a Creative Commons no-deriv license. I miss the rains down in Africa… If you would like more information about what is technology, recent news, Geekazine, and Jeffrey Powers, feel free to contact him. Jeffrey Powers does interviews, just ask!

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