Google Voice For Mobile: One Number To Rule Them All

Google has created a mobile app for its Google Voice service, right now only for Android and BlackBerry with an iPhone app to come. Think of this as Skype for mobile only more so, because there’s a usable number associated with the service and integration with your phone’s contacts.

Effectively what the mobile app allows you to do is use your Google Voice number as your mobile phone number: to send SMS messages and/or make all calls or international calls only, depending on your setting choices. People on the other end will see the Google Voice number on caller ID and not the carrier-designated mobile phone number. This makes your mobile number (and carrier) potentially irrelevant. You maintain your Google Voice number as your primary number, change carriers, plans and so on (provided there’s a mobile app for your handset) and your contacts will never notice.

When Google Voice launched we asked whether Google was positioning itself as a “next-gen telco.”  The answer, now, is effectively yes. As Om Malik says, “The Google Voice app essentially reduces the cell phone carrier to a dumb pipe.”  There’s so much more integrated functionality here than what the carriers offer it’s almost inevitable that more and more consumers will adopt it, provided they understand the benefits and can get numbers they’re relatively happy with. (I recently paid the $10 to get a more desirable phone number.)

All that Google Voice mobile customers need is a data plan (preferably unlimited) to use this service as a substitute for a voice plan. Fearing this very sort of “disintermediation” carriers won’t be offering data-only plans any time soon. Imagine if you simply used a $15 or $20 monthly unlimited data plan for all your calling, SMS and mobile internet activity. That scenario is not that far-fetched with Google Voice.

Here’s more on how it works and the various features:

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There’s more discussion on Techmeme.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Mobile


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • chrisjohnston

    Explain exactly how you are making calls over data. To make calls from Google Voice Google makes the call for you and then connects your call to that call. That explains why your callers see the call coming from Google Voice. You are still using your minutes on your cell phone plan in this scenario. Google also routes the incoming calls to your cellphone and again this uses your minutes. Some carriers like AT&T also prohibit VOIP calls over their cellular data network in their terms of service.
    I would love to be able to make Skype type calls over my data network and give AT&T less of my money for their overpriced minute plans. I just don’t see how Google Voice is going to do this.

  • avazed

    Very interesting concept, linking all your numbers to one place. In the long run, people who want to call you shouldn’t worry about which number to use or which device to call (your mobile or home or office), they should be calling a person, not a device. So there should only be one number per person for life, and we should be able to decide which device should ring depending on where we are at any given time! Google is getting us one step closer to that by linking all our current phones to just one number…

    But the thing that Google hasn’t been able to do though, is to link people’s *old* phone numbers to the google number. Or their old emails, or skype IDs, or all the other online ID’s. Ideally, we would want to get our one and only google number to “replace” all those other bulky or outdated contact alternatives too… Btw, is a great help with that, highly recommended!

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