Garrett Smith has, I think, the best take I’ve seen to date on the relaunching of Google Voice (read full post here). From the post:
Slowly but surely Google is piecing together all of the components an entrepreneur or existing offline business needs to do business online. Sort of what eBay tried to do (but is failing at with) PayPal and Skype.
It’s a great thing Google is doing. Really what they are all about is driving Internet ad revenue. In order to do that, they’re creating cheap ways to *run* a small business. Which is just a precursor to advertising on line. Makes sense, and it’s good for all small businesses.
As for this iteration of Google Voice – it definitely has a cool factor. SMS in and out. Voicemail transcription. But it’s not compelling. So you can dial a number and then dial another number and save a few pennies? You can receive an SMS on a different cell than the one you give out. You can ring different numbers based on the individual calling? Cool. And definitely worth the price.
But none of the features are going to spur people to change the way they use the phone. Certainly it isn’t aimed at businesses yet. Maybe that will change and they will start making it interesting to businesses to make better use of their phones. But if that was the plan, they probably would have launched it right away wouldn’t they? I’m not sure Google and the Google Voice team is aiming at businesses at all.
It’s certainly an interesting time for Voice 2.0 companies. Two new API related offerings hit (Twilio and Tropo, which I’ll cover shortly), and IfByPhone just released version 3.0 (check out our new site: IfByPhone, Call Tracking, Hosted IVR)
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