Ronnie05's Blog

Enter Google Voice

Posted in Industry updates, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on March 18, 2009

googvoice

You can often find me saying in exasperation… “there’s Internet and there is Google!”. It appears that the Mountain View based giant is not satisfied with its Search Stardom and wants to protract the internet technologies to disrupt other industries around the world. Google Voice, though in its infancy has the power to blow away the existing rules of the Telecom game and i daresay, that carriers and operators throughout the world are hawk eyeing Google’s moves.  

First there was Google Latitude that made its debut in January 2009 and now is the turn of Google Voice. Both services combined together would serve as a full scale solution to networking, voice and data needs of people around. (Imagine yourself beaming a picture of a new dress that you would like to buy for your daughter to your wife for her approval. You are in New York and she in London or any other part of the world). That scenario with Google can give cold sweat to many other companies around who have stakes in Telecom, Voice, Data and auxilliary services.
Google, signaled what would be the next telecom technology disruption on 13th March 2009 (Read here). Within 5 days, there are half a million blog posts dedicated to Google Voice. Check them here. As i had said, in one of my earlier posts, the art of maintaining Relevance comes very naturally to Google.
Bought in 2007, Grandcentral is reincarnated as Google Voice in 2009, with a few polishes and additions. Essentially a VoIP based network, a user is given an account and a 10 digit phone number, except that there is no phone at the end of this number. Instead the user has to log onto his account and “manage” his calls. He has to specify where the calls need to go i.e either his mobile or his residence number or his voice mail etc. One can also program it such that business calls are routed to office number till 5 O clock and then go to voice mail system directly. So this becomes a single portal of managing all communicational priorities. It can also be managed for customizable features, call screening and controls and solution et all. That is the core of the technology! Out side this, there are features such as 
  • Automated voicemail transcriptions — Users have the option to receive free transcriptions of all their voicemail messages.  These transcriptions are fully automated (i.e. no human listens to the voicemail), and are searchable within your Google Voice inbox.
  • SMS messaging — Receive SMS text messages sent to your Google Voice phone number on your mobile device and on the web.  Send and reply to text messages directly from your phone or your Google Voice inbox.
  • Conference calling — If you’re on the phone and receive an incoming call, you now have the option to merge your calls.  Have as many as six people join a single call.
  • International calling — Place international calls at reasonable rates from your phone or by using the QuickCall button in your Google Voice inbox.  Purchase credit using Google Checkout and pay by-the-minute for international calls.
Read the complete feature lists here
Google Voice is available in its Private Beta option to users of the Grandcentral. With this now, Google is subverting the rules of the game by offering free speech to text messages, Free conferencing, almost free VoIP calls, Reduced International calling rates, and a link up with Gmail. All this is in effect, game changing!
There are the usual and relevant concerns with issues of privacy and the individual exposing himself to a ubiquitous company to such a large degree.The huge increase in personal content handled by one company that excels in mining such data paves a dangerous and rocky road to serious privacy issues.
Google is clearly sending another message to the rest of the telco’s and wanna be telco’s that Google is not happy with merely being the top of the pile in search and all things on the internet, but that it really plans to take over the communications world as well. Based on previous successes I wouldn’t put it past them!
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