Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Is Google Voice a Game Changer?

Google un-wrapped its anticipated GrandCentral voice project earlier this year under the name of Google Voice. Although Google Voice only available in test mode to users in United States for now, my guess is it will become the talk of the town going forward. What impact will Google Voice have on the voice communications market? Will it be a game changer… and for whom?

Key Google Voice features:
  • Calls are routed to all my registered phones simultaneously. In other words, layered integration of mobile and fixed line phones
  • Text messaging & conference calling feature.
  • Inexpensive international calling
  • All my voicemails are aggregated at Google Voice. Transcribed voicemails or voicemail notifications are emailed or sms’d to me.

However, it is the flexible service layer of Google Voice handling inbound and outbound calls that is the differentiator. With the ability to port existing mobile number to Google Voice, I can rid myself from long and expensive contractual commitments with other mobile carriers. By loading Google Voice apps onto a smart phone, my outbound calls can be routed through Google Voice with significant cost savings as a result.

I’m sure it will take some time for the market to learn and adopt Google’s new voice proposition, but if successful Google will likely change the game for service providers and mobile carriers.

Question: Does Google Voice give Google an entry point into business communication market? For example, could Google Voice serve as a cost effective mobile integration service to the SMB and enterprise market?

I’m interested in your opinion…


  1. a SIP account gives you more options than google voice.

    For your connection to VoIP services, the SIP account works on more popular devices and soft applications. Use SIP with: Polycom, Aastra, Counterpath SIP softphones, Grandstream, Cisco, SNOM, SIP apps on iPhone, Fring, SIP apps on HTC with Google Android OS, Nokia N95, Windows Mobile 5+, smartphones, analog adapters and more!

    You can also host a corporate SIP-PBX Server that includes auto attendant and call transfer options for SIP accounts. With hosted SIP-PBX services your VoIP calls (and conferences) between SIP accounts should be unlimited without per minute fees. Shop around to find a vendor offering this unlimited PBX calling features. For 500 SIP accounts with PBX, your extension services should be no more than $3.99/extension.

    Octopus offers enterprise hosted SIP-PBX Server services with Exchange-class email. Please see the attached link for more info http://www.OctopusIP.com/octopusgivesyoumore

  2. Unfortunately I can't try it yet....

    "Google Voice is not available in your country.
    Thanks for visiting Google Voice. We're not yet open for users outside the US, but are planning to expand our service to additional countries in the future. "

    But it looks promising. One of my contacts in the US is very enthusiastic about it. The only complain from him is that AT&T is blocking the Google Voice application on the Iphone like they were also doing with Skype.

  3. Google is far from corporate use but great for college kids getting started in the world for a "new" number for life. A number for life and mask stalkers when needed; compelling for a college kids. Considering you still use all the communication mediums such as land lines, VoIP, cell to actually communicate it becomes another item to manage and configure. It does have some nice features that small businesses may like and can get from focused SMB offerings but porting is a deal killer in addition to group features such as extensions, auto attendants, ring groups and other media and their presence. Requiring a web browser has it limitations for call control will reduce its use unless you are sitting at your computer then the service is not as compelling.

    It is FAR from unified communications and belongs on a unified messaging board discussion not unified communications. Unified Communications is all mediums from a single platform like PanTerra Networks, WorldSmart, not a consolidator like Google Voice, with T-Mobile, Vonage, ATT, AOL, etc.

    Dave http://www.panterranetworks.com

  4. Right now. It's just kind of cool - handy for individual or small business ues. I use it for single number reach.
    On the other hand, it's only a matter of time before individuals and small businesses prove the concept and do the beta. Eventually this will become another application in the cloud and will (eventually) spell big trouble for carriers - especially mobile.
    Don't believe me? Just ask ATT, who takes it very seriously. So seriously in fact they cajoled Apple to disable it for the iPhone. Which lasted about a week in the tech community as they figured out how to get around it.
    And when the bandwidth vacated by analog television gets carved up by the FCC and eventually comes up for bid, dont' be surprised when Google, or some partnership with Google involved, submits.
    Has Google Office put MS out of business? No. On the other hand does MS take this seriously? Yet bet.
    Frankly, this is where Google should have started - voice in the cloud first then cloud computing - simply because it's easier to do (from an adoption point of view).

  5. Good question Roland.

    When you think about Google, it’s seen first and foremost as a search engine service given its market dominance.

    Sure, Google is playing in other markets – e-mail (GMail), productivity suites (Google Docs), blogs (Blogger, Google Reader) but search continues to be Google’s bread and butter.

    For telecom watchers, however, it would be a good idea to keep a close eye on what Google is doing in the voice market.

    I did a BLOG post on this subject specifically. You can visit:


  6. Well having used Google voice for two months, I have realized one thing. It only does one (transcription) thing that my cell phone can not do. And since I can not make calls with Google voice unless I have another phone Google voice is useless.

    Some points I looked into of Google Voice from a consumer PoV. They have no place in the corporate as far as I can see it.

    Calls - Actually this costs me minutes on my cell vs using the cell number itself. I have Verizon and so do most of my friends. If they call my google voice number from their verizon cell , I get charged minutes during Peak Times as do they!

    Texts (SMS) - Sending texts to people via the web is great! Granted I use AIM's service to do this already, but nice addition. As for texts coming to my cell phone, similar issue as the minutes.

    International Calling - They are many services that offer cheaper international calls then Google Voice, and in addition due to VoIP and toll bypass (where applicable) who needs these fees?

    Transcription - This might be the best option of google voice. Verizon offers visual voicemail which got me excited but transcription blows it away.

    Call Forwarding - Possibly the most useful feature of google voice BUT Verizon offers that with their wireless service and has been for MANY years now. So I can forward my cell to any landline without an additional cost (minutes apply).

    Sure this is still in Beta, and Google has the ability to impress us, but at this moment, I see Google Voice in the UC space as Okrut is in the Social Networking Space.