Last week we launched Ghostbot (with our friends at Voxable) to give Burner users, particularly those in the dating sphere, a useful tool to deal with aggressive or unwanted texts.
This week, we’re releasing an update for our iOS and Android clients with several powerful new features under the hood that make the delegation of your communication needs easier than ever.
Burner 3.3.1 is also being released in conjunction with the Burner Developer portal. Now anyone can build smart agents or bots on top of Burner’s phone number platform.
MAKE YOUR OWN SMART AGENT OR BOT
As of today, anyone can build on top of Burner’s platform using webhooks to make “smart agents,” or bots (like Ghostbot), to handle any defined communication need.
If you want to learn how to build your own bot, you can walk through the process with Echobot. Echobot is a simple tutorial that will teach you to create a bot for your Burner number using incoming and outgoing webhooks. If you want to use Natural Language Processing from API.ai, it will also show you how to plug into their pre-made domains like small talk and language translation.
Another smart agent that’s now available for anyone to use is FAQbot. FAQBot, also created by Voxable, is an SMS bot that augments Burner's Slack connection by enabling an API.ai-powered agent to sit alongside the humans in your Slack channel. FAQbot responds automatically and intelligently to common customer service questions, but if a question comes in that the bot doesn’t know, a human in the Slack channel can respond from the same number. It’s a seamless customer service experience for the person on the receiving end of that customer service message.
Any developer can now configure FAQbot with your own customer service questions or a build brand new bot no one has ever heard of before. Head over to burnerapp.com/developer to get started.
If you haven’t connected Burner to your Slack team yet, we’re also listed in the Slack App Directory.
DELEGATE WITH CALL AND TEXT FORWARDING
Apart from bots, another way you can use Burner to help you handle communication in your life is with call and text forwarding.
Call forwarding is pretty standard on many networks and phone services. With today’s update, call forwarding for any Burner number now works as you would expect. You forward the Burner number, and it rings through to someone else’s phone.
The special sauce here is text forwarding. Our new text forwarding feature allows you to easily send Burner calls and texts to another phone and have someone else (like a business partner or team member) respond.
HOW TEXT FORWARDING WORKS
Here’s how our new text forwarding feature works:
Someone texts you.
The text automatically gets forwarded to the number you specified.
The recipient can reply to the message using this syntax:
@4321 thanks for the message
Where “4321” is the last four digits of the number to be replied to.
This way, the recipient of the forwarded text can reply to multiple numbers without leaving the comfort of their chosen texting app. Replies go through the originating Burner number as not to compromise your friend or colleague’s personal phone number. And, of course, you can turn off text or call forwarding independently at any time, and see all of the forwarded correspondence in Burner.
This functionality opens up many possibilities for solopreneurs, teams, and small businesses to delegate or collaborate with phone numbers in a way that has never been possible until today.
OTHER ENHANCEMENTS WITH 3.3.1
Lots of Burner users are relying on Dropbox connections to archive important messages and communications, so we wanted to add support for Google Drive users as well.
Now you can (optionally) save your photos and voicemails to a Drive folder, in addition to the existing ability to save texts and contexts to Sheets. And you can share them collaboratively with anyone who can access Google Drive.
A few other improvements worth noting in the 3.3.1 update:
Messages now have timestamps.
Your Burner details page now shows the exact time your number will expire instead of 30 days, 2 hours, etc. Of course, if you have a Premium line, your number won’t expire at all ;-).
Tap on phone numbers in message bubbles for a quicker way to initiate calls or texts from your Burner.
Some harder-to-see burner colors have been removed.
Improved voicemail player.
As always we’ve also included some minor bug fixes and small performance improvements.
SMART, COLLABORATIVE, INNOVATIVE
Whether you are using a Burner as a long-term secondary business number, or as a quick temporary number for a two-week project or online sale, we see a lot of value in turning mobile phone numbers into more collaborative instruments that can be shared when required or kept personal and private when not.
We also see future innovation in businesses and teams by adding bots to phone numbers at the network level. We’re on a mission to make phone numbers smarter, and a minor release like this one takes major strides, but we’re also interested in seeing what kind of smart agents/bots our community developers with the new Burner Developer portal.
We’re looking for more bots to feature in our Developer portal. If you build a bot using our webhooks, make sure you tell us about the project by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.