Monday, June 15, 2009

Google Voice’s Secret Weapon: Number Portability

There are lots of rumors on TechCrunch about Google Voice (previously known as Grand Central). One rumor is that they will support number portability (so you can take your current mobile phone number and make it your Google Voice number). Another rumor is that Google Voice is about to be launched to the public. Right now only a few beta testers and people who had signed up with Grand Central before Google bought them are the lucky ones who can use all the great features of Google Voice. I am one of the lucky ones ...

Google Voice, once rolled out to the general public will become a major telecom player. Google voice has some great features and really cheap, no commitment needed, international calling rates.

Just have a look at all the great features that it has: whenever someone dials your Google Voice number you decide which phone(s) it will ring on depending on time of day and who is calling. Some callers can be send straight to voice mail, while the pesky ones can be send directly to number unobtainable (meaning they hear a sound that indicates the number they called no longer exists). Once your real phone(s) are ringing you can pick up the call at any one of them and with a single push can transfer a call from let's say your mobile to your land line in case the call runs long and you do not want to waste your battery or minutes left in your plan. Or transfer it from your land line to your cell phone in case you have to get on the road.

We all know how hard it is to take notes while driving and talking on your cell phone, so Google Voice allows you to record (part of) the conversation which is then stored online in your Google Voice account. That way you can go back to your online account and make proper notes on what was said.

All voice mails are accessible from the Google Voice website and they are transcribed to regular text, so you can use Google search to find a voice mail. TXT/SMS messages send to your Google Voice number will be send to all designated mobile phones and copies of all messages are stored in your online account so again you can use Google search to find a particular TXT/SMS message. you can even send TXT/SMS messages from inside your browser, which makes it a lot easier to send information from a PC to a cell phone (just cut and paste).

The Google Voice online address book is integrated with your Gmail account and if you set it up to sync with your iPhone or Blackberry then all your contacts on your phone will be your Google Voice contacts.

With Google Voice you can make free calls inside the US and Canada and really cheap calls elsewhere in the world. The calling rates are competitive to Skype and all the other VOIP providers.

In other words the telecom industry will never be the same.

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