Google Voice – a success or failure

by Allan Harris on October 3, 2011

Before Google Voice, a similar service offered international calling from cell phones under the name of Grand Central. Google acquired the service in 2007 and later in 2009 came out with its own international calling version called Google Voice. The voice service required users to have a calling service that they can use or carriers to operate it.

The previous Grand Central service was a consumer service that worked by sending shock waves through the company’s voice sector. But what Grand Central was working on, Google had already achieved it. It had transitioned its Gmail to Apps aimed toward the consumers, businesses, government and other sectors. Since Google Voice’s launch for consumers, it has always been presumed that Google Voice for business will be next. Launching Google Voice for business is beneficial for the company as not many companies operating as voice vendors in business world have the capabilities and technologies to match Google Voice including ad-hoc call conferencing, ad-hoc recording and SMS integration.

Sure, Google Voice users have experienced a few glitches, but it does not mean that Google isn’t trying to improve the service. In a technological age of “Ready, Aim, Fire”, all firms want to bring out their technologies to the front as soon as possible. Fixtures and patches in the ‘not so perfect’ technology can come later. The same is the case with Google Voice. Despite being functional for consumer use, Google Voice had been implemented by many businesses because it was free, robust and upgrades were expected.

But unfortunately, the latter has still not occurred and it is 2011. Two years have passed since its introduction and only a few improvements have been made to the consumer service. Since the technology has advanced and voice vendors are using it to their advantage to provide one stop solutions for desktop and applications, the idea of Google Voice as a business service is not as attractive as before.

With such a scenario, intentions of Google Voice remain foggy. Given its low cost rates, Google Voice is considered to be operating at a loss as its only revenue source is international calling. Google is very secretive about Google Voice’s roadmap which is believed to be non-existent as no consistent improvements have been made to the service. The question of Google Voice’s long existence then comes in mind. As with previous neglected products such as Google Wave, Google Health and iGoogle which seem to have vanished, the same thing is expected to happen to Google Voice.

Inconsistencies including call recordings, dialing, calling different numbers, lack of business features and connection problems are all synonymous with Google Voice. Google as a company is feared by all. Adding voice technology was believed to make Google invincible. Given the problems with Google Voice, it has proved otherwise. Rather than being a shield for Google, Google Voice is becoming a battered sword for the company even though the company has all the resources to make it dangerous again.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Riley November 30, 2011 at 11:44 am

Maybe so, but all it takes is for google to devote some resources and push to have the service fully integrated into its Apps Enterprise suite (including some advanced administrative controls), and it will be a win.

Why they haven’t done this yet, I don’t think anyone on the outside knows. However, with Microsoft Office 360 and Lync Online seemingly heading in the voip direction, I think google voice is anything but dead.

Suzanne March 19, 2012 at 12:22 am

Why would Google vanish Google Voice? Many of us use it on a regular basis, and with so many users having ported their long-time cellphone numbers into Google Voice, there would be a serious backlash.

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