Should You Sign Up for Google Voice? Xconomy Readers Share Their Beta Experiences
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they’re still mainly dabbling, or haven’t yet figured out how to make the best use of the service.
I’ve had my own Google Voice account since writing my review in mid-March, but like several of Xconomy’s readers, I haven’t used it much. The reason is the same one some readers cite: The high switching costs. I’ve changed residential and office phone numbers several times in the last few years, and I dread having to inconvenience everyone in my life yet again by making them switch to my Google Voice number. Then there’s the hassle of printing new business cards and updating my account records with everyone from Amazon to the electric company.
I realize that this is a paradox of sorts. In the long run, the great thing about your Google Voice number is that it’s the last new one you’ll ever have to give out (for as long as Google exists, anyway). Still, there’s that last hump to get over. Since adopting Google Voice is optional—unlike switching your home land line number when you move between area codes, for example—I think the switching hassle, together with the power-user requirement, may cause many potential users to balk.
But there’s some chance that the number-switching problem will go away by the time Google Voice goes public. TechCrunch reported last week, based on information from an unnamed source inside Google, that the company is working on “number portability” for Google Voice—meaning that when you sign up for the service, you could reassign your existing cell or home number to your Google Voice account, rather than getting a brand-new number from Google. That would significantly reduce the switching costs that go with adopting Google Voice. (But it wouldn’t fix the outgoing-call and caller ID problems, except for the times when you’re calling from the device that uses your Google Voice number.)
So—if you’ve been hearing about Google Voice and wondering whether you should sign up for it when it becomes available to the general public, you may want to glance through the following comments from the Xconomy Google Voice account winners. Needless to say, this is not a scientific survey. There’s a lot of self-selection going on here, since by definition, all of these comments are from people who immediately responded to Xconomy’s free Google Voice account offer back in March. And the people who dislike Google Voice probably aren’t as keen to reply to my feedback request as its fans and evangelists.
(A big thank you, by the way, to everyone who wrote in. Many of you said it would okay to quote you by name, but I decided not to use names with these comments, since quite a few people asked to remain anonymous. I’ve edited the comments for clarity.)
How much have you used your Google Voice account?
“I have used it a little thus far. Since I am a remote person my mobile/office phone is the same. However that will be changing by this summer and the convenience of one number is ideal.”
“About once a week.”
“I use my Google Voice account almost every day.”
“I have not found a good way to utilize the technology.”
“It’s interesting. I will use it eventually. I am not an early adopter type generally. At this point I like to play with it.” … Next Page »