Despite only being invented in 1998 Google has become synonymous with the internet. So dominant is their hold over the internet that Google became a verb. Any time you want to search for something on the internet you Google it. Of course, there are competitors such as Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Brave but no other search engine is so widely recognised as the daddy of the internet.
Smartphones have largely increased the reach and scope of Google, but they have also helped strengthen their main competitor. It means that people no longer need to sit down at a computer or laptop to use the internet. People can use a handheld mobile device to Google things with their thumbs. It also allows apps to be downloaded onto your mobile phones, leaving a monopoly of only two app hosting platforms. The two major players are the Google Play store, and the Apple app store and the two competitors are continually vying for dominance.
One of Google's leading apps is Google Voice, a voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP service. This article will explore the Google voice app. In particular, it will explain the benefits versus the negatives of the Google Voice app.
Google Voice acts as a free service providing all the traditional actions of a mobile phone using an internet connection. For example, you can make phone calls, receive calls, and send text messages. The Google voice service is not limited to use with a mobile phone. As you only need an internet connection to use it, you can use any device as long as it has a microphone and speaker.
When you sign up for Google voice you can use an existing phone number or you can get a new phone number. If you choose to select a new phone number you will have to enter your area code. To find out your area code there are online tools that can help. After selecting a phone number, Google Voice will be immediately activated. From there, you can set up your voicemail with a voicemail message. You can even access voicemail messages through the app to get a copy of a text transcript.
The Google Voice service is particularly good in business settings. You get an alert if someone is trying to call your Google Voice phone number, and you can answer or ignore it. You can then instruct Google Voice to dial back at a later time if you wish. You can also use Google Voice to dial multiple numbers at the same time. This is good for things like conference calls.
What are the benefits of using Google Voice?
Google Voice allows you to combine all of your phone numbers under one Google Voice number. This is good for people that have multiple phone numbers, such as; a home phone, a personal mobile phone number, and a business phone. When you get a phone call all phone numbers are alerted, and you can even forward calls to your preferred device. For example, if a business call comes through, you can forward it to your business phone.
Google Voice is also great for people who travel a lot. As long as you have an internet connection, you can receive calls for free instead of paying for pricy international calls. It also means that you won't miss any calls whilst you are away.
Perhaps the main benefit is that it is free. Domestic and international calls, sending text messages and voicemail can all be done for free. This may eliminate the need for monthly mobile phone or landline costs. You can also easily block unwanted phone numbers on Google Voice. Furthermore, you can turn on the spam filter function to automatically filter known spam callers.
How do I set up Google Voice?
To use Google Voice, you first need to have a Google account. You then need to visit voice.google.com, sign into your account and click the button that says get Google Voice. Select which type of Google Voice account you want to create, business or personal. You can then choose to verify an existing phone number with Google. This will be the preferred device you want calls to go to.
You then need to read through the terms and services of Google Voice and if you agree to them hit accept. Then click continue and navigate to select and verify a new Google phone number. You can then add phone numbers for forwarding calls to. Devices such as smartphones will need to be verified by sending a verification code.
Finally, you click claim and then press finish to complete the set-up. You can then customise the process by adding or deleting phone numbers for example.
What are the drawbacks of Google Voice?
One of the main drawbacks of using Google Voice over traditional methods of communication is that it heavily relies on having a good signal. The signal needs to be strong, stable and fast enough to work correctly. This means if you are in an area with fluctuating internet signal and strength it may result in missing important phone calls or being cut off during important conference calls. Traditional calls, especially via landlines may be less volatile and more reliable. Also, another issue is that Google Voice does not let you make direct emergency calls which can leave you vulnerable in an emergency.
Also, although Google Voice allows you to make free calls internationally, it may be less secure. This is because you will likely have to use a public broadband connection. Public wifi is often dangerous when it comes to internet safety. They are more open to "man in the middle" attacks by hackers who intercept your connection and send you to phishing sites that impersonate real websites such as banks. However, public wifi is much safer than it used to be.
Also, when something is deleted on the cloud, it is never truly deleted. Furthermore, all your information can be sold to third parties - although they claim to be phasing this out this year. Not only this, but Google can track your location at all times if you have your mobile phone with you. As Google will happily hand your information over to law enforcement this could be used as evidence against you if you commit a crime.
Does Google Voice work on Apple?
It would be easy to assume that an own-branded Google product would not be available on their main competitor's platform. Perhaps you may think Apple would not want to support a rival company's app, and Google would not want to allow them to take advantage of a superior app they have created. Making the app exclusively available on android (Google) could switch Apple users over to them. This tactic has famously been used by competing game console companies. For example, the Halo Franchise was made exclusive to Xbox, meaning that PlayStation gamers would have to switch over to their rivals if they wanted to play the game.
However, despite these presumptions, it appears that Google Voice is available on Apple. The app is also free, meaning you can use Google voice on multiple phones and devices.
Will internet services replace phones?
With more and more access to the internet and rapidly advancing technology, it seems internet services may replace telephone networks. This change is already imminent in terms of landline telephones. By December 2025, the old landline network system will be replaced, and work has already begun.
In the future, all landline telephone calls will be made over the internet. New landlines will be called digital landlines. Sadly this means that people who do not want the internet at home, perhaps because of privacy concerns, will be forced to have an internet connection if they want to keep their landline. Landline users do not need to contact service providers, as they will reach out when it is time. Most people will be able to keep their phone numbers, and it will likely be an easy switchover.
The internet age has vastly changed the way people communicate and one company above all others has thrust itself into dominance. That company is Google - and, so recognised was Google's search engine, that to search online became a verb of its own. To Google something, meant to search for something online - whether they used Google or not.
Google also made its mark when smartphones were developed with Apple being the only real competitor. Google also have their own app to challenge telephone networks themselves allowing you to make calls and texts for free. This app is Google Voice. The main benefits are:
- Free to use even for international calls
- Combines separate phone numbers under one umbrella number
- Can call multiple numbers at once
- Block and spam filtering automatically
There are also a number of drawbacks including; reliance on strong internet signal, having to rely on public wifi - especially when abroad, and having to agree to Google's invasive terms and conditions.