San Francisco telephone exchanges
March 20, 2010 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Where on the internets can I find a map of San Francisco telephone exchanges? Or, help me choose a 415 number for Google Voice.

I've tried a few SF zip codes and found available numbers in several different exchanges, including 504, 294, 343, 658 and 347, but I can't tell if those are in or merely somewhere near the zip code. Or the magical non-geographically-specific land of Googleville. I'd like a number that looks plausibly residential. Thanks!

(I'm assuming that exchanges correspond to certain geographic areas or are all cell phones, like they are here. I guess that might not be true in densely populated areas.)
posted by little e to Technology (8 answers total)
I assume all 415 numbers are in SF, even though Marin is also 415. Personally, I wouldn't worry about the exchange.
posted by foodgeek at 9:47 AM on March 20, 2010

I can't determine what you mean by "plausibly residential". The only marker for that in my mind would be a random series of digits in the last four. Businesses tend to try to be the ones looking for 3344 or 1500 or 7890 series, but even that is in decline.

When I chose a GV number for our rental biz, which is on a sign, I just picked one that ended in 0.
posted by dhartung at 11:06 AM on March 20, 2010

When I was looking for a Google Voice number, somewhere in the search it showed the area that that exchange was linked with. I think I ended up selecting one for my boss that is technically "San Rafael" or something, even though it's a 415 area code. And (if I'm remembering correctly--doesn't use it anymore) when he calls the landline, caller ID says "San Rafael."

So - the numbers aren't in "Googleville." But I don't think it really matters that much in this era of ubiquitous cell phones and people keeping their numbers when they move.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:26 AM on March 20, 2010

what you mean by "plausibly residential"

I wasn't sure if there were all-Google exchanges, like there are exchanges that are all cell phones from a particular provider. Sounds like it doesn't really matter though, so I'll just pick something and be done with it. Thanks!
posted by little e at 11:41 AM on March 20, 2010

For what it's worth, here's a page showing old San Francisco central offices, along with a listing of the exchanges they served (e.g.: KLondike 2, VAlencia 4, etc...).

Do many people still think in terms of exchanges anymore?
posted by mhum at 12:15 PM on March 20, 2010

I dunno--around here, yes.

I'm from the middle of nowhere and I never know when I'm safe to extrapolate from my experiences and when people will think I am crazy. It's awkward sometimes.
posted by little e at 2:09 PM on March 20, 2010

I dunno--around here, yes.

That's very interesting. Having lived almost all my life in big cities, the only people I've found who are even aware of exchange numbering are old-timers and phone nerds. But, again, that's also just my limited experience.
posted by mhum at 10:56 PM on March 20, 2010

Yeah, for example, if I have both a landline and a cell number for a friend in this area code, I don't bother noting which is which because I can tell from the exchange. For landlines, exchanges cover fairly specific areas--there's actually a map in the phone book. When I lived in a small city, I had at least a general idea of which exchanges were in the city and which were outlying small towns within the area code. (When I lived in a big city I kept my out-of-state cell, so I had to dial the area code for everything, so I never paid much attention.)
posted by little e at 9:26 AM on March 21, 2010

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