Despite the fact that Newsweek boldly claimed that the recession was over, it's really not. On July 31st, Verizon Wireless reported a 21% decline in profits, which, as we all know by now, means massive lay-offs. In this case, 8,000 more employees were let go, the largest lay-off since the GM debacle. And just to keep things on the up-and-up, Verizon has already cut 8,000 jobs in 2009. It's my guess that Verizon employees are thinking that the recession lives on...
So, not only must we disseminate information gathered from online sources, it would seem that we must do the same for magazines, newspapers, and TV newscasts. Nothing can be taken at face-value.
This brings me to Forbes and its haphazardly scattered reporting on Google. In the past ten days, Forbes has printed stories ranging from Google being on top of the SEO game, to comparing Google to newspapers, printing a story titled, "Why Google Won't Last Forever." The publication either does not understand Google's business plan, or it's simply pounding out headlines to gain readership. In a single week, it reported the demise story and a separate story on how Google Wave and Android will revolutionize telecommunications, e-mail, chat, blogging, archiving and file uploading.
Now that my rant is over, let's move on to the exciting news of Google Voice. Formerly known as GrandCentral, Google Voice is a company that Google acquired in 2007 for just over $50 million. Despite the almost two-year wait, the bugs have supposedly been put to rest and the service is ready for beta testing. Below is quick introduction.
In essence, Google Voice provides a single phone number that combines all of your phone numbers, including cellular, office, home, vacation home, etc. It is able to route calls to the appropriate number(s) that you designate. Thus, for example, calls coming from family members can be set up to ring your mobile and home phone. Business calls, depending on how easily you want to be reached, can ring both your office or cellular. If your Google Voice number receives a text message, it automatically routes it to your cell phone.
Google has enhanced the original service by adding a transcription service that transfers all of your voicemails into text in which users can then append and add notes or tags for future searching. The friend setting can also route calls from designated people straight to any of the desired phone numbers. Users can access Google Voice via computer or telephone, and the system tracks all received calls, missed calls, text messages, placed calls, and will even record phone calls. The teleconferencing feature can include up to six participants. International calls can be made at about the same rate that Skype currently offers.
According to sources, Google Voice and Gmail will be fully integrated in the future, providing a single source point for all personal and business communications.
As for costs, with the exception of International calling, the service is very affordable. It's free.
With intriguing projects such as Wave and Voice nearing their release stage, it would seem that Google's position is where it's always been... in front of the competition.