Google Voice Not a Skype Killer — Yet

picture-11Early on I had a GrandCentral account but let it lapse. After the announcement of Google Voice yesterday I got back in. But it’s not exactly what I expected.

There are lots of nice call management features and the SMS integration is great. I had thought however that it might be a complete substitute for VoIP calling services like Skype or even Vonage. It’s not — at least right now. It’s not a telco substitute. (Perhaps if Google Talk is later integrated.) 

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I can turn my iPod Touch into a phone with Truphone and a WiFi connection. That’s been useful in several situations, though it sounds like my head is in a fishbowl. Google Voice offers free domestic calling and inexpensive international calls. But what it does is connect calls to an existing phone number:

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One must have an operating landline or mobile phone to use the service. Google Talk or Skype or other IM clients allow  you to make calls (usually with video) directly from the client. Skype and Truphone will also allow this on mobile handsets. Google Talk,  however, only allows calls within the network at the moment. 

If you use Google Voice with a mobile phone you’re still using minutes. Since most people have included long distance this doesn’t represent any savings. With a landline, you could in theory ditch your long distance service and make all those calls through Google Voice, connecting them to your local number (it’s similar to Jaxtr in that respect). International calling is where the value of this part of the service kicks in. Calling rates are quite inexpensive. I haven’t compared them to Skype however. 

I suspect that Google Talk will become integrated into Google Voice at some point so you’ll be able to make calls directly from the service. For now, however, this doesn’t threaten any of the incumbent telco or even VoIP services.

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4 Responses to “Google Voice Not a Skype Killer — Yet”

  1. Abid says at

    I gotta say, GrandCentral/Google Voice has become a big part of my geeky tool arsenal. I got a GC account right around the time they started giving them out by invitation. I was lucky enough to get my GC number right when I got my new work phone and so I put my GC number on my business cards. Log story short, in terms of the service they provide (catch your calls no matter where you are, no matter what phone you’re using) its a great thing. I eventually added Youmail (which does a lot of the same things that GC does but for your own phone number) and now my phone/calls management is super convenient.

    Gratuitous advertisement aside, the service has gone down randomly at times, and they recently put a limit on the number of outgoing calls you could make using your GC number before you have to pay a fee.

  2. Maria says at

    Its has great features…but its only for the people who had previously signed up for GrandCentral. Google hasn’t announced when others can sign up.

  3. Mona says at

    Google Voice is great but one question; Google voice will take over other VoIP providers like Vopium, Jajah and others?

  4. kama says at

    For me not useful at all. If it was like Skype than it is different otherwise nothing just forward nonsense option to other phones

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