Google plugs new-age telephony into US carrier phones
Gives Voice to Sprint
Google has teamed with US wireless carrier Sprint to integrate the carrier's cell phones with Google Voice – the new-age telephony web service that lets you attach a single number to multiple phones, turn your voicemail messages into emails, send free texts, make free domestic calls, and dial international numbers on the cheap.
Sprint serves about 50 million customers across the US.
Apple originally barred Google Voice from the iPhone, apparently acting on behalf of wireless partner AT&T, the country's largest carrier, and AT&T has directly criticized the service on an another front. But although the service appears to threaten carriers in some ways, Sprint has embraced it in full. Presumably, Google has forked over some cash.
Google has long offered a Google Voice app for Android. In the fall, after a complaint to the FCC, Apple finally allowed the service on the iPhone. And in January, Google let users port their existing mobile numbers to the service. But the partnership with Sprint goes several steps further.
Sprint customers can now use their Sprint number as their Google Voice number without porting, which involves service interruption and additional fees. Setting up your Sprint number as your Google Voice number is free. If you move to this setup, when someone rings your Sprint number, your other phones will ring at the same time, including, say, your home phone and your business phone. You can also answer calls through Gmail, which now offers a VoIP service based on technology Google purchased with its acquisition of Gizmo5.
Calls from Gmail and text messages sent from the Google Voice website (google.com/voice) will display your Sprint phone number.
If they'd rather, Sprint users also have the option of replacing their Sprint number with their existing Google Voice number. This lets you tap Google's service without installing a separate app, and it works on all Sprint phones.
Whichever of the two options you choose, Google Voice will replace your Sprint voicemail, providing transcribed voicemail messages, and it will connect your international calls at Google's low rates. You can also setup a personalized voicemail greeting for particular callers, block particular callers, and record phone conversations.
You can still send free texts from the Google Voice website. But Sprint will continue to charge for texts sent from your phone.
On Monday, Google and Sprint also unveiled the Nexus S 4G for Sprint, which lets you enable Google Voice directly from the Google Voice mobile app. Other Sprint users must enable the service through the Google Voice website. Google says that its Sprint integration will be available in the US "soon" and that when the service debuts, it will be gradually rolled out to all Google Voice users. It's available only in the US. ®
Update: This story has been updated to show that Google Voice is not yet available in Canada.
It's not about identity theft
Back at the dawn of the Internet the goal was never to concentrate so much in a single company. The Internet was about interconnection, your machine being able to reach multiple services all over the world. You would become both a consumer and producer of information. No single point of failure or censorship. People even joked that "on the internet nobody knows if you're a dog".
Now it's all concentrated on a few companies all bent on knowing who you are, what you do, what you like/dislike, what you read, your priorities, where you live, your location at all times, your health inc concerns, who you talk to, videos you watch, music you like.
If you then combine all this info for a large group of people it's easy to see how it can be used to predict how society reacts to news and adapt as necessary. Even just changing the the order of search results influences public opinions.
What would the organisations like the Gestapo have done with this during WWII. You think there aren't people like that anymore? Just look at what the US gov and things like Wikileaks.
It's also not far fetched (think mass relation machines like IBM Watson) to imagine how the same technology that targets ads used to influence your opinions on other topics. Given all the information they have it's quite an easy exercise in psychology to do so.
Maybe you should read 1984 to give you some more ideas.
Then there's more direct things like getting advance access to corporate secrets, predicting or even influencing stock movements, etc.
It's a REAL BAD idea.
Never in the UK
Whilst the recipient's carrier charges the caller's carrier to terminate calls.
I was just talking about this the other day
A service, though I used Skype as an example, that did all this - my reasoning was the technology is available and if a schmuck like me on the street can think of it why aren't BT or Vodafone trying to sell me it - it just makes sense in an interconnected modern world - as long as there's an off switch for those quiet times :)