Friday, July 31, 2009

Google Voice

I lucked out and snagged one of the invitations for Google Voice. Everything you've read about it being cool is true. It is simple to enter however many phone numbers you want it to ring through to and the voice mail features are awesome. They are continuing to expand it and will be adding more features and integration going forward. For myself it is also ideal because it allows me to make long distance calls to Canada for a small fraction of what I normally pay, and I can have it ring through to whatever phone I am currently at. I'm normally not overly gushy about things but this one warrants it.

The service runs in the cloud and you access it with a web browser, wherever you are. There is some integration with GMail right now but it is limited. There is also a client side application for smartphones available that makes your use of the service transparent. This means that you can get a phone number that never changes (the Google Voice one) and hook it into whatever phone you want on the other end so you are no longer bound to a carrier to keep your number.

Apple's decision to block the application that allows tighter integration with the service is short-sighted and is causing bad press for them. Once Google closes the gap on a few more things like sending and receiving faxes it is going to be a de facto requirement for any small enterprise.

If you haven't yet got an account to to and request one. You will not be sorry.

The only caveat on this is going to be "how will they make money?" Right now it is free (except for international long distance, which is still very reasonable) but I predict it will move in the same direction as the Google Apps suite, with a limited free edition and a full feature paid version. Stay tuned as they continue to evolve it and competitors try to come up with something better (are you on it yet Microhoo?)

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