So there have been rumors that Google’s Android was just the tip of the iceberg of Google’s plans to enter the wireless industry (and of course a small advancement in their plans for world domination).
Well when I heard about Google voice and then the subsequent announcement of their new Android application to seamlessly make phone calls from your Android device using the Google Voice number, I caught a quick glimpse of how they could take over the wireless industry in a quick blow. Let’s see if anyone else sees the potential I do…
Well, first some background on Google Voice.
Google Voice lets you get a phone number for free from Google (they have tons of phone numbers in multiple area codes across the country). You then can go online and set up this phone number to point to your cell phone, your house, your work, etc. and whenever anyone calls the Google number all 3 of the phones it is directed to will ring at once. Whichever you pick up the others will stop ringing. This allows you to have 1 number instead of three.
Also people can send texts to the Google Voice number and they will make their way to your handset (so you never need to give out your cell phone number again, just give out your Google Voice number).
Google Voice also lets you control other aspects, like transferring the calls to each phone number based on the time of day, day of the week, sending your voicemails as text in a text message to your phone, and many other features that as far as we are concerned in this article, are irrelevant (for a complete list visit our Google Services post).
Now, the big problem with Google Voice replacing your normal phone number is the fact that if you call from your cell phone, your cell phone number shows up on the receiving phone’s caller ID. So technically the people you are calling would need to save 2 numbers for you (one for when you call them and one for when they call you). And that’s a big inconvenience.
So now onto the Google Voice App for Android (and soon for other OS’s as well). The App solves the major issue illustrated above. It runs in the background and when you have it turned on, it allows you to use the regular dialer to make a phone call through your Google Voice number (it calls into the system, and then dials out again). And all of it is done seamlessly so you do not even notice. This makes it so that when someone gets a call from you, the number they see is the Google number instead of your normal cell number. Viola!
So how does all this equal trouble for the rest of the wireless industry? Well, let’s throw VoIP into the mix…
So let’s say that Google decides to route your outgoing calls seamlessly (using the aforementioned Google Voice App) through the internet (GPRS) instead of through the regular voice channel (GSM)? Once they do that you can now make unlimited outgoing calls for the cost of a data plan only (because the calls are going out as data and not deducting any minutes).
If they take the same concept for incoming calls made to the Google voice number and route it through the internet to your phone’s IP Address, you now have unlimited incoming calls for the cost of your data plan. So your now getting unlimited internet/email/texting/incoming & outgoing calls for the cost of unlimited data only.
Imagine if they do this and do it for free. Why would they do it for free? Well, Google loves to give things away and make money on the advertising. So what if you replace the normal ring we’re used to when we call someone with a quick ad? Or put ads at the end of text messages (like how GMail puts ads at the end of your emails? Google makes tons on advertising, and we get free unlimited phone service, sweet deal, eh?
Well it gets sweeter too. If you were making calls through the internet then that would illiminate long distance too. So calling to Europe, Asia, South America, etc. would all be unlimited too! (or at least extremely cheap).
There is one little problem though. VoIP requires a fast data connection (Wifi is best but 3G can do in some areas). If you don’t have a fast connection then you can’t make a phone call and that would be pretty horrible.
So before Google can do this properly, they would need some sort of proprietary software or backend that could compress the voice packets enough so that you could make a phone call regardless of how slow your data connection is. Well? Get to work Google, I don’t want to pay for phone calls anymore…