I’m fast becoming a bigger and bigger fan of Google Voice the more I use it. I’ve spoken to friends, and they feel the same way – easy access to a new phone number, and the ability to use services that your carrier would otherwise charge you for, is brilliant.
I myself opted out of getting an SMS package with my phone, since it was just more money for something I could replicate with Gmail – though I would have to teach all my friends how to text to me. Here, I can simply give them a new number and say, “just text THAT.” So that’s money I don’t have to give to T-Mobile!
Of course, that’s just the kind of thing that’s creating the mess going on now with Apple and GV. The Apple Store recently pulled all Google Voice applications from it’s store, including the official Google Voice app itself. Their reasoning was that these apps are duplicated by features found on the iPhone itself. Which seems like a poor reason to me – the iPhone also comes with it’s own calendar, and there is no shortage of calendar apps available at the store as well, aren’t there?
The real reason, of course, is that if you are using GV for texting like I am instead of what AT&T offers, you aren’t paying your money to AT&T. I have no doubt the apps have all been pulled not because iPhone is trying to keep Google off it’s handsets, but because AT&T pointed out some piece of the iPhone contract they have with Apple that says, “no programs that will reduce the amazing iPhone service payday.”
What wonderful irony, that the postal service felt the sting of electronic services being used instead of buying stamps, and now the electronic services are feeling the same sting from other applications. Given that SMS packages are usually around $5-10, I would think the easy solution would simply be to give texting to users as a bonus, and not care that they aren’t paying for it anymore. When you text you are in fact doing the carrier a favor, as it takes so much less bandwidth to send 90 or so characters than it does to call a person directly.
What we have hear is another one of those juicy cee changes, where the old is grumpy about being killed by the new. I have to wonder if all of the carriers will react as negatively as AT&T is. After all, historically, when an old technology is being replaced by a new one, the new one always wins. Being a grouch and trying to keep the service off your phones won’t change things a bit.
After all, if all of the carriers turn away from VoiP applications, how long will it be before someone starts manufacturing a true Google Phone, one that simply connects to a data line and only works calls from your free GV or similar service?
Something like that would be death to the current phone carriers. I would suggest they find a way to get on board with this kind of technology now, rather than waste their time and money on a losing battle to get rid of it.