In the last month I have completely revamped my communications infrastructure, hopefully for the better.
Here are the before and after pictures.
Yep. I am using Google Voice as a hub for phone communications. My Google Voice number will be a primary number for people to contact me. Depending on the person calling, Google Voice will forward to my iPhone, my home phone, my spouse's mobile phone or any combination of the three. (With Google Voice, you can actually get so granular that you can forward to different numbers based on the person calling, have a different greeting for any person, and a different voicemail message for any person or group of people). And I can add or remove phones from the forwarding mechanism at my leisure because my Google Voice number will shield anyone who calls from the black box that is now my web of communication facilities.
Sure people will still call my iPhone directly. And I expect some people to do that as it is my primary line for business discussions, etc. But for a majority of people, calling the Google Voice number will be all that is needed.
And, as what I am seeing as a huge money saver, I have left Vonage (where I was paying $20-25/mo) and came to Ooma. I paid $199+tax at Costco for free U.S. calls for life. Ooma has premium services that you can pay for, but at this point, since I have Google Voice, I don't see the need just yet. (Note: I had no real negative issues with Vonage. The service was actually very good for the time I had it. But, you can't blame someone for trying to save some money).
What if Ooma goes out of business? Well, that's the beauty of Google Voice. I can remove Ooma and add something else to the infrastructure and no one would be the wiser. People know the Google Voice number and don't really care how (and with what device) I answer the phone on the other side. I am actually considering adding a Skype phone number to my account to see if I can forward numbers to the Skype number for the times I am away from my home and online.
Here are my assumptions about using Google Voice as a communications hub:
- Google is not going out of business anytime soon. Thus, my Google Voice number can be my number for life.
- Google Voice will continue to be free (or ad supported), or some reasonable charge if it comes to that.
- Google Voice will keep my privacy just as well as the government does with respect to my phone calls ;-)
We'll see how this all plays out; but right now I feel excited with my new setup.
Google Voice is in beta right now, but you can sign up for an invitation and these invitations are going out daily.