Google Voice behind the scenes
September 3rd, 2010 - 9:30 AM
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With the advent of telephone as a medium of communication, distances got shorter and transfer of information took much less time. Then came up corporations who were ready to milk this opportunity to provide this wonderful service at bearable costs and later also had the much needed add-ons (like Caller ID, Voice Mail etc). Then in the 70′s the internet was born. It took time, but by early 90′s it started giving hints of an outburst in the modes of communication. Later, Google was born and rest is history.
How does all of this relate? Google is an internet search provider and has recently started tapping on the voice call market! But why? It somehow doesn’t relate to Google’s roots – revenue through Search! Well, clearing the clouds a bit, you would see that Google Voice somehow does relate to Search. The primary concept being introducing Google Voice is to get work done for free! All Google is trying to do is making it’s VOICE SEARCH better. Now you won’t even wink you eyes if someone asks you to do it for free, so Google figured out a very easy way of enticing you. It introduced Google Voice as a limited Beta and as a by invitation service only. The exclusivity behind “by invitation only” service is a buzz marketing strategy that works most of the times. Above all this service was and still is free since the day of its inception in the real world. I remember people I know, calling me up from different unknown numbers (which weren’t in my phone contacts) and then shouting out loud “Oh, this is my new Google Voice number – save it”. This was back in early 2009 when Google Voice was introduced. The thing did create the much needed magic; but somehow the beta lasted too long and Google Voice vanished in thin air. A few months later, Apple unapproved Google Voice app and this brought it back to light. The fight between Apple and Google never ended and the hype about Google Voice toned down again. Infact a month or so back, when Google Wave project was suddenly terminated, I said to myself – it seems we would hear something similar about Google Voice pretty soon. And then came a loud announcement. Some intelligent guys figured it out that adding Voice calls into the addictive Gmail Chat can be a good idea, and here they are with free calls to US and Canada for the whole of 2010.
When you place a call via Google Voice, all your calls are recorded and transcribed. (in case you had signed up for the Original Google Voice account, you would have been receiving transcribed voice messages). Google builds it database for better voice search using this transcription. The more you talk through Google Voice, the more efficient you make Voice search for Google. This is what Google Voice’s privacy statement says:-
Google’s computers process the information in your messages for various purposes, including formatting and displaying the information to you, playing you your messages, backing up your messages, and other purposes relating to offering you Google Voice.
Google 411 is another free service from Google. You gotta find an Indian restaurant – call “1800-466-4411″ from your phone and start searching the city by talking to a computer. You start by speaking the city and zip code, then you talk about what domain would you want to search in (a restaurant) and so on. Google then pins down the results, gives you the most prefect match and connects you to the local business. Everytime you call this 411 service, you contribute to make Google’s Voice search better.
It’s interesting to see how patterns collaborate. You would have to agree that Google takes away the big prize when it comes to bright ideas. Be it enticing you to get work done, or be it the Google goats, PowerMeter, Google Maps, Street View, Green Initiative, Gmail and our very own beloved Google Search (without gaudy and flashy ads! ).
So thank God that a company called Google exists, because there wouldn’t have been many others who would think of providing you free services just to make the other free services better. At the same time, be skeptic that Google is still a business entity where the primary goal is to get the money rolling.
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