As you all might know, Google voice is a brilliant service from Google that never took off as everybody hoped. Most of it has to do with its limited free availability in key markets and rest to a very weak mobile app. Google voice was initially introduced on Android back in July of 2009. Since then, it still rocks version 0.4.2.72 as of writing this article and I have no hopes of the situation getting any better for a foreseeable future. I am almost sure this has to be one of those million things that gets blocked because of carrier pressure. At the same time if it is offered as an app in a Play store or other competing stores, consumers get to choose which app to use and which to refrain from. Additionally it would not violate Verizon’s hypocrisy theory, who possesses more control over Android than Google themselves.
There are already several existing successful apps(WhatsApp (doesn’t support calls but great multi-platform texting app, Viber, Skype to name a few.) which does the same or in some cases even more than Google Voice. It turns out, people love them and really want to make use of them. On the other hand Apple has already changed the rules of texting game on their platform with a nuke named iMessage(which was supposed to be open sourced, but they are still dealing with thermonuclear round one).
This is where I think Google Voice comes to the forefront with the concealed capabilities and power of cloud behind it. The single best feature that comes along with Google Voice is “It gives you one virtual number that can be hooked with all your phones(including land line)”.
Lets step back for a minute and analyze the offerings already in the market WhatsApp,iMessage for texting and Viber for calls. The problem with all these apps is that they use your real phone number or your primary email ID. Even if you do not want to share your phone number or email ID with strangers who also happen to have this app installed, you would be FORCED to share with them.
This can all be overcome by an excellent Google Voice client which needs to be on all major platforms so that consumers who have access to the internet can communicate with each other without worrying about privacy and irrespective of the platform being used.
Similarly it applies to text messages, one can connect with their acquaintances without really having to share your actual number/email ID with them.
Internally too, Google is fighting a war with these diverse communication tools namely Gtalk, G+ Messenger, Google Hangouts and good old forgotten Google voice. Indeed Google confirmed, they are working to unify their communication platform but it does not mention Google Voice anywhere which is disappointing to say the least.
In an ideal world Gtalk, G+messenger, Google Hangouts and Google voice should be unified as one tool ruled by one virtual number.
App should be a multi-platform with one time assignation of virtual number working seamlessly over TCP/IP. I personally can’t wait for carriers to convert into dumb pipes rather than be a draconian freaks controlling phone experience Google Voice 1.0 would just be the beginning!