We’re running our lives almost entirely through the phone these days. SMS has become the new email, with more important communications than ever going through that inbox. And we each have a constellation of software and apps we use in our everyday lives that you might call our “personal OS”.
But phone numbers have remained static and one-dimensional. While our devices and operating systems keep getting smarter, carrier-issued phone numbers, with their basic calling and texting features unchanged in years, have failed to keep pace.
Today we’re introducing Burner Connections, an innovative new platform that enables phone numbers to be smarter, do more, and connect better to the rest of your stack. This is a major step for us as we evolve from thinking about Burner numbers as a privacy tool to thinking of them as next-generation phone numbers that empower our users to take control of their identity, privacy, and productivity.
Along with Connections come a number of other new features, including much-requested premium subscription lines.
Introducing Burner Connections
You’ve heard of apps for your phone… Burner Connections are like apps for your phone number. Connections let you link phone numbers to other applications you love, enabling them to do things they couldn’t do before, like sharing voicemails, automatically saving picture messages, letting your whole team answer text messages, or even creating your own SMS bot.
Here, watch an overview:
The four integrations we’re rolling out today are:
Slack, which allows you to set up a phone number whose incoming messages will be routed to any channel you want, and which anyone in the channel can reply to
Dropbox, which auto-archives voicemails and picture messages (both in- and out-bound) to your Dropbox
Evernote, which lets you use the Evernote notebook UI to set up your own SMS bot — each note’s title acts as a text command that returns the contents of the note
Soundcloud, which auto-posts voicemails to your Soundcloud account and is great for creative and content-generation use cases.
Let’s take a deeper look at Dropbox - a Connection with use cases ranging from personal to business. Once you log in and authorize your account, Burner automatically creates a folder in Dropbox that will save a copy of every voicemail and picture message you receive as long as the Connection on your Burner number is toggled to “ON.” Archive those sweet happy birthday messages from your relatives, or share business-related pictures with a colleague… whatever your need, your phone number is no longer an island separate from the rest of your software.
Read more about our Dropbox Connection.
The Slack Connection is really cool - one that we see a huge amount of potential for in the workplace. When you connect Slack to your Burner number, all incoming texts and voicemails are routed to the designated Slack channel. And anyone in the channel can reply from within Slack. It’s a great way to have an office or team phone number that multiple people can monitor, and a simple way to extend the team workflow to include text messages.
Read more about and test out our Slack Connection.
Evernote might be the most exciting of our Connections – it lets you build an SMS auto-response bot. Say you’re a musician, an Airbnb host, or a teacher, and people often text you with the same questions. When you connect your Burner number to Evernote using Connections and choose an Evernote notebook, Burner magically turns your number into a bot that anyone can text. The title of each note acts as a command, and Burner will instantly reply to texts with the contents of the note. You can even customize a welcome greeting for first-time visitors to your bot.
Read more about our Evernote Connection.
The Soundcloud Connection is still in the experimental stage and was built to show the power of social networks and SMS when combined. Once you setup the Connection, any voicemail you get on your Burner number will be automatically shipped over to your Soundcloud page and converted into an audio track on your profile. You can set these to be private or public by default. Check out how one band is using the Soundcloud Connection to power fan engagement here..
Read more about our Soundcloud Connection, try it out for yourself, and check out a case study.
Burner Premium lines
More and more members of the Burner community use their numbers for business and other important projects. So much so that longer-term, auto-renewing Burners have been one of our most-requested features. So we’re really happy to be releasing Burner Premium today as well.
Not only will your Burners auto-renew without your having to remember to buy credits and renew your line on an ongoing basis, but you’ll also get unlimited calls, texts, and picture messages for a great low price. Subscriptions will start at $4.99 a month and will be managed through iTunes in-app purchases.
Of course you can still buy and renew Burners in various a-la-carte configurations if you prefer to, and you can “burn” a Premium line any time just like any other Burner.
Search, Photos, and More
Got a conversation going with a colleague, but can’t remember whether an important piece of info is an email, Facebook, or Burner thread? Well now you can find it easily.
The newest version of Burner takes advantage of a great new capability introduced in iOS 9. You’ll now be able to search your active Burner conversations from anywhere on your phone, by pulling down the Spotlight Search bar.
Finally, we’ve introduced new options for customization that let you upload your own background header photo to any Burner line. Alongside being able to customize the color, we think this is a really nice way to map your phone “identity” to whatever project you’re using it for, and to keep multiple Burner lines differentiated in ways that make sense to you.
Hello? Is it me you're looking for?
Smarter phone numbers that are free and nearly free, that you can get on demand and that act like software, being programmable and connected to the rest of your stack. And you don’t have to go through a carrier to get them. We’re pretty sure this is what the future of the phone network looks like .
We can’t wait for you to check out the new Burner and hear how you’re using Connections, and what improvements you'd like to see. Please let us know in the comments, on Twitter via @Burner, or in the Burner team's text-enabled Slack channel at (323) 457-5241.
More on Burner Connections: