Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Google Voice Fandom goes all 1984

OK, I got a little excited in my two recent posts about Google Voice (GV).

To recap: I thought if Google would only take the phone number they issue you in Google Voice and let your contacts email you with it [my phone]@gmail.com and re-route to your website from it [my phone].google.com, as well as add fax send/receive to GV, then we'd be on our way to a truly global inbox and a single address.

As I drifted from consciousness to sleep later that night, I pondered the other ways people contact you. And then it occurred to me, that Google could partner with the US Post Office.

Someone could simply write your GV phone number in the Send area of an envelope. When the USPO's scanners see it, they they do a look up of the actual address, print it, and route the mail along.

Or typing the GV number and a key word like home or work would route the mail to the correct address as listed in your Google setup.

Finally, it occurred to me that Google was also in the Online Health Records business. That's when it started getting a bit creepy.

As a nation, the US has so far resisted a National ID card. Could Google slide an International ID card by all of us by calling it a Google Voice phone number? Give everyone a GV phone number, combine it with their country code, and you've got a unique identifier.

Of course this is ridiculous, a GV number is opt in by its very nature. I still want my GV phone number to have all the power I described above.

While I'm being a 1984 style paranoid, let me call your attention to Facebook's new face recognition software. I've been telling every young person I know who'd listen (a very short list), that this capability was coming.

I asked them to flash forward to age 45 and seeking a new job. They finally score an interview. As they walk into the lobby, the surveillance camera records their likeness. By the time they take the elevator to the 20th floor, a still image from the video has been used to scan the internet, and their interviewing manager is looking at photos of them from 20 years before in Spring Break.

Facebook's application isn't there yet, but this capability could be deployed.

Now something less depressing: your video game playing teen may be building job skills. I've talked before on this blog about the disruptions technology is causing. Who knew it would disrupt fighter pilots. But your gamer could be well positioned.

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