Thursday, July 2, 2009

Is Google Voice about to finally roll-out?


Sure looks like Google Voice is getting ready for a massive roll-out.

When they converted from Grand Central to Google Voice in March, they said wider rollout to the public would come in a matter of weeks.

The frustration level was building to a fever pitch as weeks stretched into months, and little news came out of the Google Mountain View Monolith. Then a couple weeks ago, they announced that people on the Grand Central and Google Voice waiting lists would begin getting invites.

I can tell from Twitter chatter some have received them, but many are still waiting.

Today Google announced current users could change their phone numbers for $10.

And I am starting to see some 3rd party companies announce products tied to GV.
All of this seems to point towards a pending wider release.

If you have read this blog, you know I think Google Voice is an awesome product. You may wonder why Google is going to offer you such an awesome product, much of it for free.

Mike Elgan wrote in ComputerWorld a good theory.

"The common assumption that Google's customers are its users is false. As a Google user, when is the last time you paid Google for services rendered?

"Google users are the "product" -- users are not Google's customers. By this I mean that Google is selling information about its users to advertisers, which are the company's real customers."

...

"I'm going to give it to you straight: I believe Google Voice is free because Google wants to track your phone calls, read your voicemails and text messages and invade your privacy to offer you up on a silver platter to advertisers."

He points out this is already true with Gmail. Go into your Gmail, pull up an email and then look to the right at the ads. They are related to your email, aren't they?

Google is going to do the same with GV.

You know something? I don't have a problem with it. Others might, but I don't.

Everything I do online is somewhere already. Afraid of Big Brother? Too late. If you are being investigated subpoenas will get investigators everything about you from your Twits, your Facebook Wall, and your Google search terms.

But what if all that information can help you find worthwhile products.

Dilbert's creator Scott Adams wrote recently that Shopping is Broken. He said : "How much more stimulated would the economy be if the people who have money, and are willing to spend it, could be reliably connected with the products that they desire?"

So don't look at GV as invading your privacy, look at it as giving our economy a needed boost.

And it can save me money on my phone bill to boot.

And help me when I drop my cell phone in the toilet. That's a topic for another day though.

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