Nikhyl Singhal is certain he'll never have to remember his grandkids' phone numbers—because the whole concept of those 10-digit numbers will be long gone by then. In fact, "it may not even take 5 years for the phone service, as we know it, to meet its demise," he writes in a guest essay at TechCrunch. He's not predicting the end of phone calls. "Far from it. People will still talk on their phones. They just want the service to be simple and fun, which won’t entail punching digits into a device to start a conversation."
Which means: Goodbye Ma Bell, hello Mark Zuckerberg. It's time to "dramatically simplify telephony by adding voice on top of our social networks," he writes. Facebook is well poised to be the killer of phone carriers, a move that would give people far greater control over who is allowed to call them. In the not-too-distant future, people will open their smartphones, check out their Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace friends, and click someone to call. "It’s time to say goodbye to 10 digits along with the world’s oldest social network."