From The Philter's "Just What I Needed" file, AOL is offering a service that's perfect for the consumer who feels he has too many phone numbers, passwords, and devices to keep track of in his busy, digital life:
AOL today announced the launch of the AIM Phoneline service, a new offering that gives AIM users a free, local phone number to receive unlimited incoming calls online through the AIM service as well as free online voicemail. AIM users can get their free AIM Phoneline number by visiting www.aimphoneline.com and by downloading an updated version of the AIM Triton service now in beta testing.
And the big selling point for yet another phone number? Pure and simple deception, as AOL explains:
There are numerous ways to take advantage of a free AIM Phoneline number, for example: to post on a Web page for social or business networking; to give to new friends or contacts; to give out when making or researching purchases; for connecting with other online buyers and sellers; and much more.
Apparently, one large market for ancillary phone numbers are the folks who camp out on MySpace.com all day, posing as astronauts or NASCAR drivers so they talk chicks into blind dates. The phone number adds legitimacy to your online fibs. Putting NASA decals on your car also helps.
Machine learning is primed to help service providers run more efficient and effective networks, but first the good ideas have to make their way from the lab to the real world – and that's a big challenge, according to the University of Chicago's Nick Feamster.