So Which Number? RIbbitMobile and GoogleVoice Have the Same Problem

November 4, 2009

in general

The users dilemma. What number do you want. I’m concluding today that using your own mobile number on Ribbit Mobile or Google Voice is a waste of time. Yesterday I unfortunately made a comparison between two different use cases. 1. Using Ribbit Mobile with my mobile number and 2) comparing it with GoogleVoice where I was using a Google Voice number. Today I sought to change that. Associating my Google Voice Account with my Mobile number. Guess what?  Same basic user issues.

The Problem:

When you use either service you are provided with a carrier code to input into your mobile. This instructs the mobile to forward calls to your Ribbit or GoogleVoice number. In principle fine. In practice… horrible. In fact Ribbit probably works slightly better at this.

What happens?
You dial my mobile.. it must ring about six times before it forwards to the “service”. In GoogleVoice’s case it rings your GoogleVoice number another six times before ringing your cellphone yet again and another line. So… anyone waiting ot leave a message on my voice mail has to wait 12 rings. Any normal person would give up.

RibbitMobile handles this more effectively. Enabling the instant taking of the voicemail while starting to ring those other lines. In this way Ribbit beats GoogleVoice. And the settings make all the more sense to me now.

I also contacted Ribbit support who have been most helpful. The key problem for both of these services is the capability to forward the calls from the mobile which is controlled by the carrier. If the delay is too long they can’t ring the number back. I’m afraid the only way to really get the service I want is a form of number portability. I have to be able to transfer my number or exchange my number with GoogleVoice and AT&T. Or it is giving out a new number.

So what is it? Which service is better?
Well it depends. If you want to hand out your GoogleVoice number then GoogleVoice is superior offering screening options not available and translation on automatic that is better than Ribbit on my limited testing.

If you must use your mobile number and would prefer to optionally take the call on another line then Ribbit is better… if your callers are prepared to wait at least six rings and probably hear.. please leave a VM before you pick up.

What am I doing?
Well I’m going back to my visual voice mail on my iPhone and hope that Apple just offers the same text translation that Google does. I’d love that and sooner the better please. Maybe someone can create an app in the meantime that can listen and translate and then list?

I’m leaving my Ribbit account in mothballs and my second GoogleVoice account inactive for now. My first GoogleVoice account is now our home number and it texts both of us with any VM for the household. That’s very convenient. The issue is. I can only associate my mobile with one GoogleVoice account at a time. So activating the second account and using it for text translation of VM to my mobile doesn’t work that well. One or the other has to go.

At the end of the day….. the number of rings before going to VM is a big problem and if you ask me a real barrier to adoption or utility of these services. What I want is multiple phones to ring at the same time potentially. That way I can pickup the lowest cost option at that point in time. Eg the SIP phone on my desk.

Text before call is the future. It’s the “callmeabout” function that’s required. When I’m ready I click “accept” and we are connected. For me that still sounds awfully Phweet like.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: