Google gives its Voice to all Americans
'We are the ultimate in human communication'
Google Voice — the new-age telephony thingy that lets you attach a single phone number to multiple phones, turn your voice mails into emails, and thumb your nose at AT&T — is now available to everyone in the US.
Previously, the service was invite-only. "After lots of testing and tweaking, we’re excited to open up Google Voice to the public, no invitation required," the company said today in a blog post.
Google Voice was originally built by GrandCentral Communications, a startup that Mountain View purchased in June 2007. The service lets you set up a single number that will ring all your phones — from your cell phone to your home phone to your office phone. It automatically transcribes your voice mails. And it offers free calls and texts within the US and Canada, as well as low-cost international calls.
Google says that over one million people are currently using the thing.
US telcom giant AT&T isn't too happy with the service. Clearly, Google Voice is a direct financial threat to AT&T's phone service, but Big Phone also claims that Google Voice makes Google a net neutrality hypocrite. Big Phone says that in blocking certain high-priced calls to rural areas, Google Voice is violating the fourth principle of FCC's famous 2005 internet policy statement, which says "consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers."
AT&T isn't allowed to block such calls, so it's arguing that Google has undermined competition.
Famously, Mountain View built a Google Voice application for the iPhone, but it was banned by the Apple App Store police. AT&T is the iPhone's exclusive carrier in the US.
So Google built a mobile web-based application instead. The company has also integrated a Google Voice voicemail player with Gmail — you can forward voicemails to your email inbox — while offering a Google Voice Chrome extension and a tool for sending SMS texts to email.
What's more, you now have the option of using your existing phone number with the service.
According to Google, Google Voice is the pinnacle of modern human communication:
So when will they decide to aim for global domination? :)
Meanwhile, I couldn't help but notice that one of their sources for that graphic was Wikipedia...
Need I say more? :)
Icon? One number to rule them all, one number to find them...
Don't get it?
Ok, maybe I'm looking at this from a UK perspective, but I don't get it. This would have been a great service 20 years ago, before cross-network SMS was available and when landlines were still the primary contact number. But today?
Looking at that picture:
Voicemail transcription? WTF, everyone I know with voicemail never listens to it. Who uses it? Just send a text - it's what everyone expects and works (and will probably get a reply) even if I'm in a meeting.
One number rings all your phones. Again. WTF. Most people have multiple phones to keep the functions seperate. We've had personal numbers like this since the mid 90's and they've pretty much become useless or irrelivant now everyone has multiple mobiles. The last thing I want is a work call on my personal phone - or personal call on the work phone etc. If someone wants me, they call me. My friends/family have my work number for emergencys. If someone only has a landline number then I probably don't want them to be able call me - not that I ever bother to answer my home phone anyway!
Block callers with one click - what, like the blacklist or reject features many mobiles have had for over 15 years?
Insanely cheap international calls - Not sure what "insanely cheap" means but I hope it's a LOT better than Skype which costs loads more than even a Vodafone prepay phone (5p/min to most of the world). Funny, I thought it was international SMS and roaming that was the main rip off at present.
Forward SMS to your email. Again, FFS, why? It appears on my phone. What could be quicker or simpler?
Persinalised greetings: For what? The voicemail nobody's used in 10 years?
Conference calls: Again, like the GSM feature build in to pretty much every phone I've owned since 1994? What could be easier than setting up a 6 way conference call on a modern iPhone?
Mobile phones are now going "HD"... and much better call quality is loads more interesting to me than a rehash of services from two decades ago.
Don't. get. it. What am I missing?
Genunie Question Please Help
I have a yac number that I signed up for in the late 90's/early part of the decade and it does this one number thing with voice mail.
IS Google voice better or just the same?