Google Voice to Embrace Full VoIP
Christmas is over, but Google is already promising big gifts for 2010: Google Voice will go full VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) by virture of its recent buyout of Gizmo5 last month. As some predicted, this paved the way for Google to make major upgrades to Google Voice. The next and probably biggest question is: when will Voice open up to the general public?
In recent months, Google has its fingers in a lot of pies with, for example, the roll-out of the highly anticipated Google Wave. Like Wave, however, Voice adoption has been driving by users with special invites. The existing service, only available to those with a U.S. land-line, has been enormously popular with early adopters and Google watchers. While Google wants to make it even better with VoIP capabilities, when will it finally be available to everyone to join in on the fun?
With Gizmo5's acquisition, Google could run a version of Voice that isn't tied to a particular land-line number, much like Skype. Such a development might make Voice a potential Skype killer overnight, especially if video conversations are enabled, similar to Google Chat.
The existing service offers a variety of features, including: a single Google number that forwards all calls from every single number the user decides to use with the service; customizable call screening and blocking features; group dictated call routing; voicemail transcripts that can be read online or delivered via email and text; personalized greetings that can be varied according to which number is being called; conference calling; call recording with online archiving; and, switching phone during a call.
The only knock on Google Voice, for the most part, has been its invite only access. With the addition of VoIP, the real question becomes, how much better can it get?