03/13/09 Update: Following up with more coverage...Here's a quick summary of Google Voice and it's impact from David Pogue of the NY Times. Here's his complete description. Here's the lead paragraph in Pogue's story:
"If Google search revolutionized the Web, and Gmail revolutionized free e-mail, then one thing’s for sure: Google Voice, unveiled Thursday, will revolutionize telephones."
He sees this as a VERY big thing and I agree! Google has inserted itself big time into the middle of call management services and provided for free these very profitable services offered by traditional landline phone companies. How's this title... Google Voice Speaks of World Domination from a Wired blog.
On March 11, prior to the announcement, Stephen Shankland at his cnet News WebWare Blog has an extensive and reasoned analysis of the implications of Google Voice. Worth a read.
VoIP's quality has become so good that traditional phone companies are headed for the role of last mile Internet access providers because Google potentially will suck off so much of the value-added voice services and reduce their already shrinking landline revenue stream. The phone companies are left with the tough and costly task of maintaining and building a physical infrastructure with less revenue added from the optional call management services.
It certainly explains why in the recent past the large phone companies like Verizon and AT&T have not been willing or able to get close to Google for partnerships and did not use many Google services. They obviously knew this was coming and now have to be very concerned with having their lunch eaten, maybe breakfast, too. The impact will be important and early adopters will hop on as soon as it's widely available. Definitely a very disruptive service!! I'll be there!
Google is now a phone company without all the costly depreciating infrastructure! How will the big telcos respond? I think they see their salvation in the 4G wireless services which will provide broadband access.
It will take a few years, but except for multi-channel HDTV access, voice landline services will die rapidly.
More later, but wanted to get this post up quickly as I'm headed out the door.
Google Voice is a very BIG deal and will stir immense controversy within the industry, but, as Google is so good at, they make their appeal to a mammoth user base that is 'captured' by their panoply of free and low cost applications and services. Disruptive behavior, no?
Here's the Google Voice feature list.