Google Voice a few ago weeks invaded our Gmail in-boxes. The word invasion usually has a negative connotation with it but this to me is a great invasion and adds many more amazing features to the already amazing Google Voice. In my previous review of Google Voice I outlined the basics of the service and how you can use it. Here we will look at the marriage of Google Voice in your Gmail inbox and what this could mean for the future of Google Voice.
Google recently has put Google Voice in your inbox. What exactly does this mean? Well you can now make free calls from your computer to any land line or cellphone within the United States using your Google Voice number. Many people have been asking and begging for a desktop client for Google Voice. I think it is safe to say this is as close as you will get to a desktop version of Google Voice and it has everything you wanted in the desktop client; its true free VOIP calling!
Within your Gmail account there now is a “call phone” button located in the Google chat box that pops open. If you click this button you will open a minimized window in your Gmail inbox much like how the Google task list and Google chats work in your inbox. Once you un-minimize it you will see a simple dial pad which you can use to make calls with your Google Voice number from your computer. To do so you will need a microphone and speakers so you can obviously communicate and listen through the computer. I personally use a headset and would highly recommend one cause hands free calls are awesome!
The dial pad pop up looks pretty simple at first look but is extremely useful and makes making calls on Google Voice super easy from your inbox. First off on top of the dial pad is a search box you can use to quickly type and find your Google Contacts you wish to call. As you type real time results narrow down your contacts. If you hit enter on a contact it will initiate the call. The second and last major thing on the dial pad pop out is a little clock looking button which when clicked displays your google voice history with a list of recent calls and text messages.
In my testing with my Koss head set with Google Voice making calls has been super easy and an amazing user experience. All my friends I have called with it asked if I had gotten a new phone because I was coming in so crystal clear. With that mentioned it is still in beta and it is without bugs. I have had multiple dropped calls and when using it on my school network during prime time when connections are slow my contacts have trouble hearing me. Overall though being able to make free calls not using any of my minutes while in front of a computer is amazing! Once Google smooths over a few issues this is going to really be an amazing product.
The last note I want to mention is where this could go. Currently Google has millions of android devices around the country; each tied to a network in which you pay for service. With this product Google could possibly become there own carrier. Hypothetically if Google could blanket the country in wifi and enable Google Voice calling from your mobile Gmail account there would be no need for carriers such as Verizon. Now blanketing the whole country in wifi at this point may not be to practical but on a smaller scale such as in a city like New York; its a possibility. Think of all the minutes you could save and all the money you could save by buying a plan with less minutes. So what do you think should the major carriers be keeping an eye on Google?