Monday, March 23, 2009

Google Voice

Google has surprised me again. When it acquired GrandCentral last year, the 'googlised' version of GrandCentral was awaited with bated breath. Though Google took its time to launch its own voice service - Google Voice, the wait has been well worth it. Like any other service offered by Google, Google Voice is free!

What is Google Voice?

Google Voice (GV) is a voice service from Google which provides you with a phone number. When people call that number, it will forward the call to any number of your phones thereby allowing you to provide ONE phone number which you can access from anywhere (work, home, away, anywhere etc). The GV number doesn't correspond to only one particular phone. Hence, GV liberates phone numbers from phones. It considers them as separate entities.

Google Voice will record your voice mails like emails, once again for free, and store them for you to access online or via phone(s).

Using GV you can make calls for real cheap rates (cheaper than Skype).

One of the many cool things about GV
  • Voicemail can be converted into text using speech recognition software. Voice messages can now be both read and heard! The accuracy of transcription is, obviously, not hundred percent (it is approx 80% accurate it seems). It does the job.
  • You can 'switch' handsets midway during a call. For e.g. you are speaking to someone at home in your landline and are about to head out. You can press * and switch the call to your cell phone.
  • When you receive a call in GV, you can opt to have the following options: Press 1 to receive a call, Press 2 to send it to Voice mail, Press 3 to listen on voice mail, Press 4 to accept and record a call. I like option 3. While you are listening to caller leaving a voice message, if you change your mind and decide to talk to the caller, you can pick up the call by pressing *. Option 4 is kind of scary. You can record whole call or a part of a call and record it in GV Inbox. I realise you can do this in a normal cell phone perhaps not with the ease and in a frequent basis (and without worrying about the size of recording) as in GV. You can't talk sh*t from now on. Every single convo will be recorded! :D I love this. On other thought, is it legal to record a conversation? Privacy?
  • GV collects voice messages, text messages, recorded conversations (remember!) and stores them like email in GV Inbox. It is easier for you to find/store in a single repository. Plus, you can store them forever!
References: I heard this from a mate who knows someone with a GV#. I also read this from here, here and here.

The Google revolution

GV is Google's answer to Skype's domination. However Google has taken the interface from PC-only based interface to connecting via phone. GV is a competition not just for Skype, but to telephone companies worldwide.

In GMail, Google innovatively combined email, Instant Messaging and VoIP. With GV, it takes the next step to integrate email, VoIP, IM, SMS and phone communication. The 'integration' concept has been quite active for some time - thanks to IT. The great aspect of this is Google's unique ability to offer the niche products/solutions to the average consumer at no cost. I think we are in the threshold of something big here. This could change radically change the way we view telephony.

I badly want to give this a try. We'll be having it "in a matter of weeks".

1 comment:

  1. Sriram, someone is doing a study that requires the participation of South Asians in Australia. If you'd like to know more about the study, pls send me an e-mail (blogpourriATgmailDOTcom) and I can forward you details and the researcher's contact info.