On January 25th 2011 Google officially announced a new Google Voice enhancement. Like usual we we starting to hear the rumors about a week before the latest feature was released. Google now allows users to port their existing phone numbers into Google Voice, making your previous cell phone number your new Google Voice number. There are a myriad of reasons why someone might choose to do this but I don’t foresee a huge onslaught of people who are willing to abandon their cell phone and become Google Voice exclusive.
The latest news release on the Google Voice blog includes some basic instructions about the process of porting your number but it doesn’t clarify if only mobile numbers can be ported, or if land-line numbers can be also. I can see people finally getting rid of their landlines by porting the number they have had for 30 years to Google Voice. That would allow you to decide where and when your old land-line phone number will ring and allow you to access the voice mail from anywhere.
Android users have of course always been able to make calls “from” their Google Voice number but this of course requires some mobile number. We wrote our first Google Voice review in Aug 2009 but many things have changed. There are still some applications I think for certain individuals. For example I’ve recently moved to Colorado from another state. This new feature will allow me (when ready) to port my old cell phone number to Google Voice before getting a new Colorado cell phone number. Thus my old contacts can still get a hold of me but I can also get a new Colorado number.
The other question that comes to my mind is that of the tablets. With so many VOIP solutions being born for tablets that have WiFi and 4G but no cell line, I can’t help but wonder if this Google Voice enhancement will lead to an additional attack on mobile carriers.
What do you think? How could this be a game changer?
Jacob S Paulsen