I woke up this morning, opened my Gmail account, to find that Google was introducing yet another new feature, “Google Voice.” Google Voice has arrived to simplify the way we use phones.
You use this feature by simply signing up for Google Voice which will direct you to create a new number for yourself. This number will connect your cell phone, home phone, work phone, Gmail, etc.. all into one. You can receive and place free calls within the United States and cheap International calls. Unlike similar programs before, like Skype, Google Voice does not require both parties to be on the computer and connected to Gmail. You can place a call on your computer and reach your friend’s cell phone. A new form of telecommunications!
One might ask, why is this feature useful when you have a cell phone that you can use anywhere, anytime? First off, it connects all your phone numbers into one number. Secondly, it can store all your voice messages like a e-mail setup for quick reference, they
even transcribe the message for you. Thirdly, it makes for cheap communication while you travel internationally. And finally, if you have bad cell phone reception or your phone dies, you have your computer as a backup.
I’m excited to see how this feature works out, yet, i got even more excited when i saw how they decided to promote it. Google won’t be using the typical TV commercial or billboard advertisement; they will be using solar-powered, British-style phone booths (see left-side image) placed in high traffic areas like airports or college campuses free for anyone to use. Once this feature (hopefully) takes off, it will interesting to see if they implement forms of advertising like Skype has done or, better yet, implement new and more creative forms of advertising.
It may seem like Google is starting to compete with other communication companies, however, I think they more likely rolling out this feature to compete with social media companies, mainly Facebook. Like they did with Google Buzz, Google is trying to focus on driving user engagement. Hopefully, Google Voice, will lead to lots of engagement and then to interesting new advertising opportunities.