Google Voice Replaced My Landline

July 13, 2009

in Mobility, phweet, VoIP

Yes I moved and I used it as the opportunity to get rid of my landline. No more PSTN in this household I said. My daughter had stopped using the landline well before her iPhone turned up over a year ago. Frankly it represented “unwanted calls” from carpet cleaners and the occasional call from family that looked to the number as our traditional contact point.

So I got the cancellation. Yet I needed a number and as it happens I’d been experimenting with just the solution. I’d never seen much use for Google Voice / Grand Central. I already had ways to direct my calls where I wanted them. Yet when we started to sell our house I wanted one number that Real Estate agents could call to determine whether they could show it etc. Google Voice was the answer. I routed it to ring SkypeIn, Home Phone (old landline) and our cellphones. Now anyone could “phone the house” from anywhere.

It worked perfect. We could scan or take calls from realtors. We got auto text SMS to both mobiles. Plus the email backup. As it learns the numbers… you know who is calling to etc.

It was a simple conclusion to come to. Once we moved we made Google Voice our new landline number. I hate that we still need numbers and yet it is effectively a mini-group number. You ring it to reach the “Henshall’s” like you would with the landline. We like it because we no longer need to be home. We like it because it works for all those old businesses that seem to like leaving the message on the home line (dentist, doctor, school etc.) and because it provides a barrier when we want it or a way to direct a call to one or more places.

There is one downside. I almost always have my phone on me. My wife doesn’t (or its dead, or off, on silent etc.) so now I answer more than my fair share of “home” calls – which are really never for me.

When I make a comparison to my old landline service that was toll blocked (we use Skype or SkypeToGo from cellphones) we get voice mail, callerID, SMS notifications, and email alerts. Plus can even block certain types etc. All those things were either extra cost or not available before. Google costs me nothing. AT&T was locked down to a $22 bill a month.

When I canceled my old landline I gave them my Google Voice number. Anyone that calls my old number gets my new Google Voice number. Works for us.

I still think numbers are redundant. URL’s are more effective and powerful. Yet while numbers still have currency having a free one from Google Voice is just great. I’d like another for my “personal number” yet that won’t work as my personal number is my mobile and my iPhone handles my VM well although I wish I got the SMS translation too. Right now it is just too hard to get the VM from Google on the iPhone.

I think Grand Central / Google Voice was supposed to be about personal control. In fact it may not be advanced enough or integrated enough for that yet. However as a landline killer it’s awesome. It puts the “routing” / “channel” control and in my hands – determined by me. It’s something we did with Phweet and it’s important.

I suggest Google try out “gFamily”. With a few extra bells and whistles we’d all have what we really want which is a full exchange we load. Oh and it seems to be free. Crazy huh.

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