Doug on IP Comm – An independent voice on VoIP, telecom, and IP Communication

Google Voice opens the doors, finally

Posted on: June 26, 2009

After two weeks of hype and rumors, Google Voice is starting to hand out phone numbers to its waiting list.  Although, after yesterday’s “Today” show segment, the company might not have had a choice.

I guess I am suffering from Google-burnout, between the hype for Google Voice, how Google is supposed to respond to Bing, Chrome, Android,  Google’s troubles with China on censorship, Google Wave, and Google Book Search…

In the “Today Show” segment, there was happy gushing from NBC News user Janet Shamlian, how it made her life easier and for her family to get in touch with her yadda-yadda.  Little downside was given in the piece other than potential privacy concerns since The Google gets access to your recorded voice conversations, voicemail (probably a more valid point if they start datamining the contents, even in a generic fashion) and everything else that flows through GV, like call data.   Heaven forbid that The Goog use that data to target ads!

We’ll see how long it takes for me to get a Google Voice number.  I’m not really convinced it is going to do anything greater for me than my current phone service(s) of Cox (landline) and Sprint (mobile).   Cox has added online Phone Tools, so I’ll get the visual voice mail component and call forwarding set on line. I don’t have a gazillion phone numbers to manage, so being able to simultaneous ring a bunch of devices Does Not Make Sense for me.

Finally, there’s the whole “hand Google my primary phone number when they finally get around to supporting it.”  So, I give Google my house number, and I need a new number (no doubt provided out of the million number stash Google has allegedly built) for my landline and this makes sense because…?

If Google Voice such a big-deal/game changing service, it won’t take too terribly long for everyone else (translation: Any voice service provider with a softswitch and purchasing a service pack upgrade) to do the same thing  After all, GrandCentral/Google Voice has had about two years of “betas,” so it has given those mean old phone companies and the vendors who support them plenty of time to figure out how to replicate the services on their own networks.

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2 Responses to "Google Voice opens the doors, finally"

Doug,

Yes, the technology has existed for some time, but it has never been brought to the general public with nearly the same feature set for an up front cost of $0 and $0/mo… and no contract.

Having control of the phone number offers numerous advantages. The carriers I choose no longer matter. I can move from one to the next and back again without porting. I can use a prepaid phone. I can have no phone and rely on voicemail if it came to that. If none of it works out, I can port my number out.

I’m grateful that Google is driving the technology and getting it out. I look forward to seeing carriers tighten their belts most of all.

Hopefully, we’ll see a response in the way of data-only plans – handsets with voip applications – offering similar features for $40-50/mo.

I signed up for a GC account back when it first hit. It was neat, but it didn’t change my life much. Ditto Google Voice.

In fact, I take issue with their infrastructure choices. The only external service that they allow you to forward to via SIP is Gizmo5. What’s up with that?

Sure, it’s SIP-based, but reliant upon a proprietary codec stack from GIPS. And no wideband at all.

No, GV needs to more fully include things beyond the ages-old-PSTN before they will be nearly as revolutionary as everyone seems to think.

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