Reaching out and touching someone used to be as simple as dialing a string of numbers. But now there are home, cell and work phone numbers from which to choose, and sometimes work extensions to remember.
There are also e-mail addresses — at home and at work — and instant messaging handles, perhaps separate ones for the various services, some of which now do voice and video besides text. Some people even have Web pages — through their employer or Internet service provider, or perhaps a profile or two on MySpace.
To help people manage all their contact information online, the Internet’s key oversight agency is considering a “.tel” domain name. If approved, the domain could be available this year.
As proposed, individuals could use a “.tel” Web site to provide the latest contact information and perhaps even let friends initiate a call or send a text message directly from the site. Businesses could use a “.tel” site to determine customers’ locations and route them automatically to the correct call center.