Google: Google Voice Coming Soon

voice-logoGoogle Voice is a tool that every small business start up, working professional and high school student are likely to lust after. It is phone and voice management app that Google aquired from Grand Central that provides a single unified number and interface for all of your phone numbers, conference calls & voice messaging. It allows all of your various phone numbers, including sms, to be consolidated into a single number with intelligent routing. The list of features is impressive and those using it sing its praises.

There has been a fair bit of recent chatter on-line about when Google was introducing Google Voice. ReadWriteWeb reports that Google has recently acquired 1 million phone numbers for allocation and Gizmodo reports of a developer noting its release was imminent.

Google is apparently confirming these suspicions. Here is what Google Voice Help says:

Google Voice is currently available for GrandCentral users only, but will be open to new users soon. In the meantime, please leave us your email address and we’ll notify you as soon as Google Voice becomes available. To learn more about Google Voice, check out our feature videos.

When can I sign up?
We expect to have the service ready for new users in a matter of weeks, and are focused on opening it as soon as possible.

What if I reserved a number on the GrandCentral site before?
We will be emailing you when Google Voice is open to the public to sign up for the service.

How much does it cost?
The service is free.

What do I do if I am already a GrandCentral user?
Over the next few days, instructions will appear at the top of your inbox on how to upgrade your GrandCentral account to Google Voice. Thanks for your patience.

If you have not yet done so, you should visit Google and asked to be notified when the service is released.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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10 thoughts on “Google: Google Voice Coming Soon”

  1. I just had to wipe the drool from my mouth.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when I change a business’ phone number in the LBC to a Goog number and have to re-verify by phone. I assume it would work fine as long as the Caller Presentation is turned off, so it simply redirects the call without the bells and whistles. But then again, I know what happens when I assume, and this is, after all, Google (for better or worse).

    I also wonder how many creative, yet devious minds will try to use Google Voice in a spammy/illegal way – I’m sure there are security holes that haven’t been discovered and/or plugged yet, and it will only be a matter of time before they are exploited.

  2. Hi Jim

    It looks pretty cool but you are right…who knows how it will interact with the rest of the Google world. Right now you still can’t use a Google Site url in the lBC so one can only guess about the phone number…

    Google Voice spam…hmm….messages in your inbox that appear via bulk upload? Bulk Voice mail spam otherwise known as vmspam?

  3. My question to you Jim…is though were are all looking for tracking capabilities on the LBC…if you were to use a Google provided number that routes through to a “destination number” would it still verify the destination number on the third party sites it requires to get you listed in the 10 pack anyway? Bottom line…if Google requires to see third party data on other sites (i.e. InsiderPages & Superpages) and this new “tracking number” provided by Google was not associated with the data that the crawler pulls from those sites…..would you still populate or would you never rank? I hope that makes sense! Good luck all.

    Joe

  4. Joe –

    You raise a couple of issues: 1) using the Goog # as a tracking number and 2) mucking up the consistency of your business data.

    Let me work backwords and start with #2. You’re right – you want your business data to be consistent across the web, wherever it shows up. So if you start using different numbers on each directory (yellowpages, superpages, local.com, etc) then you’d be sending additional data about your business that Google would have to decide (algorithmically) what to do with. My guess is that they’d see all the different numbers, choose one to show in the 10-pack (hopefully/probably the one you verified in the LBC) and then show the additional numbers in Maps when you click on “more info.”

    I don’t believe having multiple phone numbers for your business would affect your rankings significantly, if at all. Maybe Mike can chime in on this if I’m wrong.

    That leads us to #1 – using the Google # for tracking purposes. Personally, I’m exploring this idea (for the simple fact that it’s free) but I think you will be disappointed. For starters, if you wanted to track leads from every business listing you have online, you’d need a different number for each one. Depending on how many directories you’re in, that number could be pretty high. Also consider that Google have said that they are only giving one Google # per Google account. That may not be a problem if you have a lot of Google accounts, but imagine the headache of keepeing track of all the different numbers – each tied to a different account instead of in one, unified place. Lastly, there’s no tie in with your analytics. If someone calls one of your Google #s, you would have to manually keep track of things like length of call, result of call (whether there was a conversion), etc. if you would want to make use of the tracking data.

    I think a service like Mongoose Metrics is probably better for this type of tracking. Sure it costs more, but you get what you pay for.

  5. @Jim
    Unlike Maps, these threads are here to be hijacked. I started writing to learn and this is the best way!

    As to the numbers and which would show and what impact they would have…that is a great question and one that I don’t have a solid answer to. It would need some testing to see how Google handles the info in the cluster. The bigger danger to not ranking would be “cluster confusion” ie record confusion and a multitude of records popping up in Maps that would need to be merged etc etc

    I think your points against using Google Voice for tracking are valid although it might work well for a single business situation.

  6. Got my Google voice account yesterday and added my new phone number to my Google Maps listing. Not sure if it is just a listing refresh issue, but my listing now doesn’t come up in either Maps or the 10 pack. I’ll let you guys know if I see any change in the next few days.

  7. @Art

    Did you replace your “real” local number? I wonder if that might just screw up the “cluster”?

  8. @Art

    I’ve done the same thing with a listing and have maintained the same position in G-maps and the 10-pack. Did you make any other changes, or just the phone number? Is it the same area code as the business location?

  9. @Mike

    I replaced my real number.

    @ Jim

    No other changes were made other than the phone number. The area code matches the area I live in.

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