Google Voice – the future of mobile phones?
Google are really stepping up their innovation onslaught in the US. They bought GrandCentral in 2007, a small US player offering ‘number for life’ routing (similar to the 07000 service in the UK) and have now developed a new freebie – GVoice.
Only available in the US at this time, it is a SIP based voice routing service that allows you to bind all your phones to a new Google issued number. GVoice has an application that works with your Blackberry (or next generation Android software) mobile phone, allowing you to make calls via the Internet from your handset. This means the Carrier does not carry the phone call but simply offers an Internet gateway to enable Google to carry the call. No call revenues? It’s no wonder Apple and AT&T have blocked this service to protect their revenues ie iPhones won’t support it. It is likely the FCC (the US Telecom Regulator) will demand they allow this competition.
This is the future for mobile phones and mirrors the development and coming of age for Least Cost Routing and VoIP (Voice over the Internet). The technology is astounding, voicemails are converted to text and added to the GoogleMail archive – hence you can search saved conversations & voicemails just like old emails.
What do Google get out of it? They make a profit carrying the calls and interestingly have a US patent on technology that allows marketing to be ‘inserted’ within the service. How would you feel if you put a client on hold and they were played an advert by Google for another company? The US has become used to these marketing ploys in their various forms but this seems to be unpalatable if the forums are to be believed.
Personally I welcome this innovation and can’t wait for GVoice UK to arrive.