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Google Voice
March 13, 2009 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Google introduces phone service. At the moment, the service is restricted but it should be publicly available within weeks. List of features and how they work here. Click on "Place calls" to see how basic calls would work. Highlights include free phone calls within the U.S. and reportedly lower-than-Skype rates for international calls.
posted by storybored (93 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
wow.

sucks to be a phone company.

yey!
posted by leotrotsky at 12:02 PM on March 13, 2009


One thing that's unclear is whether this service will be made available to countries other than the U.S.
posted by storybored at 12:05 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aweso...

..with Google Voice, no matter who makes your phone, or sells you minutes or bills your land line, Google will always be involved.

...me?
posted by DU at 12:05 PM on March 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


The voicemail transcription is actually pretty cool. Getting an email of your voicemail can be a lot more convenient. Someone has probably done this before, but I have not seen it.

Cue "yo dawg" joke in 3, 2, 1...
posted by GuyZero at 12:08 PM on March 13, 2009


> sucks to be a phone company.

Why? Somebody's got to maintain the cables, satcom links, and border gateway routers. They should make out like gangbusters. At the retail level AT&T might lose voice customers but they ought to do pretty well if there's a new demand for high-bandwidth data service.
posted by ardgedee at 12:08 PM on March 13, 2009


I've been using Grand Central for a while now, and pretty much have continued to use it besides it's drawbacks in anticipation of Google making it awesome. My account hasn't been upgraded yet but I keep refreshing it in anticipation.
posted by bradbane at 12:08 PM on March 13, 2009


If I look really, really closely at Google's logo, I think I can just barely make out the words "Weyland Yutani" etched in a corner. Or is that just me?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:09 PM on March 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


Great, but Google's becoming too ubiquitous. Like the vertical integration and trusts of the 1890s, it's the Standard Oil of the 21st Century.
posted by orthogonality at 12:09 PM on March 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


...glad I signed up for that grandcentral account.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:10 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


the vertical integration and trusts of the 1890s

THAT'S WHAT SHE...oh, i thought that said tHrusts
posted by DU at 12:11 PM on March 13, 2009


Ok, can someone tell me why would I want to call my Google phone number, then press 2, then press the phone number I want to call instead of just calling the phone number that I want to call?
posted by trueluk at 12:11 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can you fear me now?
posted by blue_beetle at 12:11 PM on March 13, 2009 [25 favorites]




!!!
posted by JHarris at 12:11 PM on March 13, 2009


Ok, can someone tell me why would I want to call my Google phone number, then press 2, then press the phone number I want to call instead of just calling the phone number that I want to call?

Because it's cheaper than the rates your wireless phone company charges for long-distance calls to Uzbekistan? Same value proposition as Skype.
posted by GuyZero at 12:13 PM on March 13, 2009


Interview [.mp3] with Craig Walker, Google Voice guru and co-founder of GrandCentral.

CNET: Google Voice: Flawed but still awesome.
posted by ericb at 12:14 PM on March 13, 2009


If I look really, really closely at Google's logo, I think I can just barely make out the words "Weyland Yutani" etched in a corner. Or is that just me?

That's just the egg sacs in your brain talking.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:15 PM on March 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


The long distance rates.
posted by cashman at 12:16 PM on March 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Because it's cheaper than the rates your wireless phone company charges for long-distance calls to Uzbekistan?

Exactly.
"People who make occasional international calls from a cell phone will get incredible savings, compared to what the carriers charge. Using Google Voice to call a landline in London, for example, costs 2 cents a minute, compared to the whopping $1.49 that Verizon Wireless and AT&T charge, if you don't purchase an international calling plan.

Even with a calling plan, the carrier rates, though much cheaper, are still higher than what Google charges. Making calls could be easier. You dial your Google number, press 2, and then punch in 011 plus the country code and phone number."
posted by ericb at 12:16 PM on March 13, 2009


Google needs to be broken up.
posted by delmoi at 12:17 PM on March 13, 2009


Screw the phone companies. It's the year 2009 and the phone companies I've dealt with (AT&T, Sprint, Embarq, and Windstream) just can't seem to figure out how to give consumers the ability to block Out Of Area calls (i.e. telemarketers) or specific numbers outside the LATA, or any ways to do cool things with a Web control panel. And no, I don't want VoIP. Anything Google can do to upset the playing field, I welcome.
posted by crapmatic at 12:19 PM on March 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


The "ring all my phones" feature is the kind of thing that sounds awesome to someone that lives alone (except for their 300 phones) but to everyone else (i.e. people that share a landline) is a nightmare.
posted by DU at 12:19 PM on March 13, 2009


Google needs to be broken up.

Good luck with that.
posted by tracert at 12:20 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


As a Grand Central user I've been pleased with all the great features but really unhappy with the actual sound quality - I don't often use it for business purposes because it's usually worse sound than most cell phone calls.
posted by twsf at 12:21 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been using Grand Central for a while now, and pretty much have continued to use it besides it's drawbacks in anticipation of Google making it awesome. My account hasn't been upgraded yet but I keep refreshing it in anticipation.

Same here. Grand Central has had almost no new features the entire time I've had it, and it has some annoying drawbacks like the fact that text messages aren't supported and that if people call me back based on the caller ID they don't use my Grand Central number. It sounds like both of those will be resolved with Google Voice, along with a bunch of other interesting new features.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:24 PM on March 13, 2009


Google needs to be broken up.

Yeah. I'd like to see that tried. They'd close up shop and re-open in Siberia.
posted by odinsdream at 12:28 PM on March 13, 2009


Google needs to be broken up.

So, sorry to get all web-stalker on you, but this from the guy whose twitter status is that you got a new G1?
posted by GuyZero at 12:28 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Google needs to be broken up.

I wouldn't type that too loudly. Their indexers can hear you, and the maps know where you live.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:29 PM on March 13, 2009 [12 favorites]


They'd close up shop and re-open in Siberia.

Been there. Done that.
posted by GuyZero at 12:30 PM on March 13, 2009


Sounds pretty promising, the cost savings alone will definitely get a large number of people willing to convert over to this system.

I wonder what this means in terms of privacy, presumably Google is going to rather rapidly build up a listing of who and when you call. Even if you aren't a customer presumably you will get all sorts of information collected when users call you. So now Google will know my phone call patterns on top of my search patterns?
posted by vuron at 12:33 PM on March 13, 2009


Google doesn't have vertical integration, they're diversifying their data services. Google doesn't deal with actual landline infrastructure. They don't make phones. Vertical integration means control and ownership from beginning to end. Google has acquired many companies and technologies and created many products centering around communication, but hasn't started making hardware beyond search applications.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:35 PM on March 13, 2009


GuyZero: my point exactly.
posted by odinsdream at 12:37 PM on March 13, 2009


Auto-transcribing your voicemails, and most likely your calls as well.
posted by eatyourlunch at 12:48 PM on March 13, 2009


I use my grandcentral number when I need to give out my number to someone I don't think needs my actual cell number, and that's pretty much it. The two big benefits to this (in my mind) are the voicemail transcript, and (to a much lesser extent) the txt messages.
posted by inigo2 at 12:49 PM on March 13, 2009


Because it's cheaper than the rates your wireless phone company charges for long-distance calls to Uzbekistan? Same value proposition as Skype.

That's true, but I don't call anyone in Uzbekistan. What value does this service offer for someone who only calls people in the United States? I understand that some of the features are cool, answer on any phone, voicemail transcripts, etc. but to take advantage of these features I will need a new phone number which is 'connected' to my current number, and everyone I know would have to call my new phone number. The benefits do not outweigh the burden it would be to switch phone numbers, except of course for cheaper international rates. Which, to me anyways, from a user's standpoint, seems like the only useful feature of Google Voice. But that's not enough for me to use it universally, especially since I'm sure Google is looking forward to the profits that can be made from logging our phone calls and voicemails and text messages.
posted by trueluk at 12:50 PM on March 13, 2009


It'd be very cool if they offered SIP or IAX connectivity, so that you wouldn't have to go through a traditional POTS connection in order to get to them. If they did that (and maybe they do, but none of the descriptions of the service that I've read have mentioned it), then they'd start to be a serious threat to the incumbent telcos.

But as long as users are dialing a 1-800 number into a traditional phone to access the service, the phone companies really aren't getting "bypassed." The call is still traveling over their network, getting routed by their switching equipment, and they are getting paid for the call. Each time you dial a 1-800 number from a phone, the telephone company gets some money — a not-insubstantial amount, especially if you call from a pay phone.

But if they offer SIP or IAX, then you can cut the local telco out completely. Everything is IP, from your phone to Google's servers and possibly even to the recipient of the call (if they are a Google Voice user as well). Even in the worst-case scenario it cuts out 50% of the phone company baksheesh, since only the receiver's end of the call goes over POTS.

With more cell phones offering data plans, it'll only be a matter of time until mobile VOIP becomes a reality as well. A 3G cellphone can easily transmit voice calls over the data channel rather than making a regular "call." The cell carriers will of course try desperately to prohibit this, but there's nothing they can do to stop it, really: short of impairing performance to the point where all interactive applications stop working, you can't block VOIP very easily. It's not hard to tunnel it inside what looks like HTTP or other kinds of data.

I think this is a good thing, because it's eventually going to beat the telcos and cellular operators into having to compete on the only thing that ought to matter: pushing packets. No "value added" services, no control of the application stack or endpoints, just IP packets going down the wire.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:51 PM on March 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Call Pops"

"Calling Cops."

DAMMIT.
posted by eriko at 12:52 PM on March 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why do they announce this and then not let me have it yet? I don't want to be in the past. I want to be in the future. WHY ARE YOU KEEPING ME OUT OF THE FUTURE, GOOGLE?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:58 PM on March 13, 2009


I've been waiting for Grandcentral to open up for a while, so this is good news. And once they get this integrated with Android and Clearwire? They are going to own the mobile communications world simply by virtue of offering the best toys at the cheapest price.
posted by quin at 1:01 PM on March 13, 2009


Auto-transcribing your voicemails, and most likely your calls as well.

So what? The old telcos already did that and turned the info over to the government. Do you trust Verizon more than Google?
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:07 PM on March 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


We use GrandCentral so both my and my wife's parents can call us with a number that's local to them. When my parents (or other people I mark as "my" contacts) call, my cell phone and the landline rings. When her contacts call, her cell phone and the landline rings. We can also use it call them on our landline and not use up cell phone minutes. Our landline is the ultra-basic $7/month incoming-calls-only-no-long-distance plan that I originally got just so I could get DSL. I click on the person in our contact list, our home phone rings, I pick up and it starts ringing the other party. I love it.
posted by zsazsa at 1:11 PM on March 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


YO DAWG IT HEARD YOU LIKE GOOGLE SO I PUT A GOOGLE IN YOUR GOOGLE SO YOU CAN GOOGLE WHILE YOU GOOGLE.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:12 PM on March 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


How about the eggs, baked beans, sausage and Google? That hasn't got much Google in it.
posted by SPrintF at 1:22 PM on March 13, 2009 [12 favorites]


...glad I signed up for that grandcentral account.

Yeah, I'm not getting voicemails today while they make the transition to Google Voice, because my GC account isn't "ready for upgrade yet." Thanks, guys, I missed work calls because of this.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:27 PM on March 13, 2009


Why does Google need to be broken up? They're not performing any anti-competitive behavior, and they're far from a monopoly on anything except search or web mail. You can still use Skype instead of Google Voice, any other web mail provider instead of GMail, Yahoo or MSN for search, PayPal instead of Google Checkout, Encarta or MapQuest or Yahoo Maps instead of Google Maps, Firefox or Safari or IE or Opera instead of Chrome, all without any resistance from Google, whatsoever.
posted by mkb at 1:29 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


trueluk : but to take advantage of these features I will need a new phone number which is 'connected' to my current number, and everyone I know would have to call my new phone number. The benefits do not outweigh the burden it would be to switch phone numbers,

Consider it this way though, it's an alternative phone number you can give out instead of your primary line. For craigslist, or people you meet in bars, or anyone that you aren't sure you want to have access to your real line, this can act as a filter. I keep several forwarded email addresses for this same reason, and I don't doubt that when they finally open up access, I'll use this the same way.
posted by quin at 1:34 PM on March 13, 2009


Yeah. I'd like to see that tried. They'd close up shop and re-open in Siberia.

And survive without doing any business in the U.S? Countries can take antitrust measures against any company doing business in their country. The U.S. took on De Beers for their diamond monopoly and they weren't allowed to do any business in the country.

Why does Google need to be broken up? They're not performing any anti-competitive behavior, and they're far from a monopoly on anything except search or web mail.

Precautionary measure.
posted by delmoi at 1:38 PM on March 13, 2009


Auto-transcribing your voicemails, and most likely your calls as well.

Datamining transcripts of every call will be standard business practice pretty soon. Why wouldn't you want to know what your employees are talking about?
posted by finite at 1:41 PM on March 13, 2009


"Google Voice is a free service that offers 'one number for life'"

"No man might buy or sell save he that had the mark" (Revelation 13:17).
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:42 PM on March 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


What value does this service offer for someone who only calls people in the United States?

For anyone who makes a lot of calls to people they don't know very well (e.g. most businesses), the ability to search previous calls is huge. For anyone who recieves a lot of calls (again, most businesses), the ability to read rather than listen to voicemails is huge (reading is faster). Depending on the sound quality, it could be really convenient for recording podcasts with people in different locations (e.g. the MeFi podcast).
posted by scottreynen at 1:46 PM on March 13, 2009


What value does this service offer for someone who only calls people in the United States?

Very few products are useful to every single person on the planet. The fact that Google has one of those already is probably enough. There are lots of people from whom Google Voice has no compelling value.
posted by GuyZero at 2:03 PM on March 13, 2009


for whom. Cripes, can we get an edit function already?
posted by GuyZero at 2:03 PM on March 13, 2009


1-800- GOOG-411 is awesome, btw.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 2:07 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Google is going to rather rapidly build up a listing of who and when you call. Even if you aren't a customer presumably you will get all sorts of information collected when users call you. So now Google will know my phone call patterns on top of my search patterns?

I will officially freak out when they provide transcripts of your phone calls, but in the meanwhile...

One reason why they'd want this is obvious if you understand how they made their search engine good. How do you solve the problem of ranking the quality of a page? You (sorry) "crowdsource" votes of confindence in the form of links/citations -- you come up with a way to mine that information from something people are already doing and will continue to do.

So, okay, that system works well for web pages. Maybe not so well for other things, people, and businesses. But a phone call call to an individual or organization is, more or less, some kind of vote of importance (if not necessarily confidence) in them.

There's also the fact that Google will learn things about you, and in particular, what kinds of things you're interested in buying, and they will almost certainly use that as well. But I suspect they have plans to use this to enhance their core product: better search.
posted by weston at 2:07 PM on March 13, 2009


So when's Google gonna start indexing brain contents and physical object properties?
posted by pyrex at 2:19 PM on March 13, 2009


I've noticed that about 15 minutes into a call I receive on my GC number, there's a kind of light sawtooth buzzing on the waveform that then goes away again in about 5 minutes.

I figure it's like McDonald's keeping the thermostat too low to get me out the door faster, but Google doesn't want to piss me off too bad, so they relent when it doesn't immediately work.
posted by jamjam at 2:20 PM on March 13, 2009


YO DAWG IT HEARD YOU LIKE GOOGLE SO I PUT A GOOGLE IN YOUR GOOGLE SO YOU CAN GOOGLE WHILE YOU GOOGLE.

Weird. Over here, when IT heard I like Google, they put a Google in my SurfControl blacklist so I can fume while work I less productively.

/doin' it wrong.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:23 PM on March 13, 2009


Not to mention fume while structure sentences I less productively.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:49 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Grandcentral does sort of support SIP. You can put a Gizmo Project SIP ID into their system and it'll ring your Gizmo softphone, I used that when I was in Europe a couple years ago to make free calls back home.
posted by signalnine at 2:54 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just gizmo, though. I work for a voip company, doesn't work with our sip addresses.
posted by empath at 2:59 PM on March 13, 2009


sucks to be a phone company

Possibly. I have considered GrandCentral (and have waited to sign-up forever to test my theory) and it looks like it has a few good features surrounded by some clunkier and less-useful ones. I suspect if this gains any traction the telcos will have no trouble at all grafting some software interface together that will perform a useful subset of the separately marketable features.

This doesn't feel like a game-changer, not like (say) iTunes. I could be wrong, but I just don't see it as having the necessary built-in advantages.
posted by dhartung at 3:01 PM on March 13, 2009


Google needs to be broken up.

They're trying to reach that too big to fail status.
posted by gman at 3:03 PM on March 13, 2009


Pepsi Bloooogle?
posted by Brak at 3:06 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


that's true, but I don't call anyone in Uzbekistan. What value does this service offer for someone who only calls people in the United States? I understand that some of the features are cool, answer on any phone, voicemail transcripts, etc.
posted by trueluk


Good points. Apart from cheaper international calls, screening calls by listening in to voice mail, blocking calls, forwarding calls, one number for all phones, unique greetings for each caller, and voicemail transcripts, what have the Romans every done will google do for us?

What else you want, peace?
posted by Dennis Murphy at 3:13 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


One GC feature I like is that you can record anything and it will be saved as an MP3/voicemail. So if someone starts giving you directions, you can press *, record it, and when you inevitably get lost later replay it. I wonder if Google is going to transcribe that and email it to you, because that would be sweet.
posted by bradbane at 3:21 PM on March 13, 2009


Will it transfer to extensions?

That's been the one big killer with Grand Central for me since the additional phones I'd like connected are extensioned.
posted by pokermonk at 3:22 PM on March 13, 2009


As someone who just got a job with a company that provides phone service, after 4 months of being laid off, excuse me if I am not excited. How many jobs will Google create by offering free service?
posted by UseyurBrain at 3:43 PM on March 13, 2009


And what about the 18-20 antique, mostly rotary-dial phones I have hooked up to my landline? Between them and the clock collection, this place can get to be a madhouse... pretty regularly.
posted by drhydro at 3:46 PM on March 13, 2009


Personally, there are two big things I like about Voice: it will email/SMS me a transcription of voicemails, which is 100x better than having to listen to them (much faster, less obtrusive, etc). And secondly, I can have one phone number that will ring my cell phone(s) 24/7, my work number during some hours, my home phone during other hours, a different phone when I'm on vacation, etc.

But as was said above, not everyone needs/wants this, so it's not for them.

(yes I work for teh Google, so I've been using Voice for a while now)
posted by wildcrdj at 3:57 PM on March 13, 2009


... hasn't started making hardware beyond search applications.

And they've stopped doing that. Dell now provides the hardware for Google Search Appliances.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:05 PM on March 13, 2009


WTF is GrandCentral?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:13 PM on March 13, 2009


I've been using YouMail for some of these features (they charge for transcribed voicemails, but not much and it is worth it). But I'm afraid Google Voice will be the end of YouMail. Nice while it lasted.

This looks to be, frankly, awesome. I give up. Google can have my privacy. It wasn't worth shit anymore anyway.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:17 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dell has a OEM white-label program for any software provider that wants to ship an appliance. We used them at a previous company I worked for. It looks like we shipped a fancy 1U appliance, but all the hardware configuration and provisioning was Dell. It was kinda neat.

WTF is GrandCentral?

The company Google bought a few years back that became what's now Google Voice.

And what about the 18-20 antique, mostly rotary-dial phones I have hooked up to my landline?

pshaw. What you want is a rotary-dial mobile phone.
posted by GuyZero at 4:19 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pogue makes a point of saying the option to listen in to your voice mail call and elect to answer it has never been available before. Is he serious? We've had that in Canada for like 10 years.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:22 PM on March 13, 2009


The company Google bought a few years back that became what's now Google Voice.

Yeah, I got that. Thanks. What I meant was, what was it before Google bought it and why do some people have accounts? What was it for? Going to their site or wikipedia on it just talks about what it is now.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:23 PM on March 13, 2009


You Should See the Other Guy: Combined with Android, their cellphone, it is a clear plot to destroy the telco oligopoly.

Seriously, it is a phone number forwarding service that gives you a phone number to call other devices (cellphones/computers/etc.), nice features include free national calling (dialing a number on the website will call your phone and the person you want to call to connect both of you for free), as well as listening in while someone is leaving a voicemail (like you used to do with your landline).

It's pretty clear that they've been plotting for a while to use GOOG-411 voice records for something (when you ask for directory service for some place, you're feeding it proper nouns, one of the hardest things to get right linguistically). Not listening in to voicemails anymore is win.

While I do worry about privacy, screw the telco companies, enemy of my enemy is my friend.
posted by amuseDetachment at 4:23 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


enemy of my enemy is my friend

At least until they become your new enemy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:25 PM on March 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


1-800- GOOG-411 is awesome, btw.

Yeah i pretty much scoff at people using phonebooks these days. Then after a good scoffing I help them program that number into their speed dial. That usually undoes the emotional damage of the scoffing, which is then of course drown out by sounds of :
"oh man this is so COOL!"
and
"I didn't know about THAT".
posted by 5imian at 5:44 PM on March 13, 2009


Number of times my landline phone service has failed or malfunctioned: once in 27 years, and that was a problem in the house wiring.

Number of times my cable/Internet/electric service has failed or malfunctioned: roughly 250 times in 20 years.

Number of times a friend or acquaintance has reported failure or malfunction of cell phone service: roughly 5 times a week every week.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:52 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Google needs to be broken up.

Good luck with that.


Google Search | Are You Feeling Lucky, Punk?
posted by hal9k at 5:57 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


And survive without doing any business in the U.S? Countries can take antitrust measures against any company doing business in their country. The U.S. took on De Beers for their diamond monopoly and they weren't allowed to do any business in the country.

Delmoi - There was little risk of political or consumer fallout as a result of the government 'taking on' De Beers. Methinks that may not be the case with 'taking on' google.
posted by notreally at 5:59 PM on March 13, 2009


YO DAWG IT HEARD YOU LIKE GOOGLE SO I PUT A GOOGLE IN YOUR GOOGLE SO YOU CAN GOOGLE WHILE YOU GOOGLE.

I don't know, this isn't much fun. Sigh. Pimper's remorse, I suppose.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 6:06 PM on March 13, 2009


I have a GrandCentral account that I use as my fake land line so people don't call my cell phone... but other than getting the voicemails I barely even remember it exists. I guess I'll have a whole new set of menus and options to forget about now?
posted by rokusan at 6:33 PM on March 13, 2009


Pogue makes a point of saying the option to listen in to your voice mail call and elect to answer it has never been available before. Is he serious? We've had that in Canada for like 10 years.

Well, about 15 years ago I had an answering machine that did that, but not since I've had voice mail. It's actually a feature I miss having. Screening calls is more fun that way.

"Are you there? It's me, pick up."
posted by MaritaCov at 6:35 PM on March 13, 2009


Hm, nothing about a business service level? So it's all under the same usual Google "only one account and must be for personal use" umbrella like GMail etc?
posted by rokusan at 6:35 PM on March 13, 2009


> So it's all under the same usual Google "only one account and must be for personal use" umbrella like GMail etc?

Google has corporate mail and blogging services:
http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/index.html
posted by simoncion at 7:02 PM on March 13, 2009


MaritaCov: ""Are you there? It's me, pick up.""

People who screen calls like this are horribly annoying. I once had a client who I had to call at home many times over a few weeks, and each time I'd wind up on voice mail, not sure if they were out of the house or just screening. Each time, like an idiot, I'd start to leave a professional message about the situation and they'd pick up in the middle of a sentence so I could explain it all again.
posted by lostburner at 12:02 AM on March 14, 2009


From what I've heard, Google makes hardware for use internally so that they can more cost effectively sell services. Then they turn around and give away services so that they can sell ads. It's like a business model that's allergic to customer call centers.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:23 AM on March 14, 2009


Google has corporate mail and blogging services:

I know, but I don't see any equivalent for GrandCentral or Voice. It's all "one person, one account, one number or you're canceled" the same way other free Google services work.
posted by rokusan at 2:04 PM on March 14, 2009


Countries can take antitrust measures against any company doing business in their country.

But if I (currently in the US) do a search on Google.ru Google isn't doing business in the US, I'm doing business in Russia. So moving overseas would be one way to avoid it. But why would it even happen?

Monopolies are only broken up in the US when it's in the public good to do so. What would be so good about breaking it up? The potential for abuse is different form abuse (otherwise two humans would never be allowed in the same room with one another). The only thing that breaking them up would bring about is a surge of start-ups that offer the service of stitching them back together again.

As others have pointed out, it's not vertically integrated. And it's anything close to a monopoly. I don't have to lease my computer and net access from Google in order to search for a product that I can only buy using Google Fun Bux from Wal*Goog. Instead buy a computer from Apple or Sony and use net access from AT&T or Comcast to search Amazon or eBay or Craigslist to buy a product on Visa or Discover Card and have it shipped via UPS or FedEx to my home or PO box. Whoops forgot to use Google. Guess I'll use my gmail (or hotmail or yahoo mail or my personal pop mail) account to check on the delivery status.
posted by Ookseer at 3:59 PM on March 14, 2009


Another step in google's global dominance! Personally I think its great, we have been stuck with these dinosaur phone companies for too long. All we need now is broad brand satellite!!
posted by pawlyk at 5:08 PM on March 14, 2009


> It's like a business model that's allergic to customer call centers.

Google owns a freaking huge AdWords phone bank in Michigan. I don't think they're allergic to call centers.
posted by ardgedee at 6:33 PM on March 14, 2009


This will become a problem...
posted by GratefulDean at 8:18 PM on March 14, 2009


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