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Is the hoopla around Google Voice warranted?

by alec on August 25, 2010

It might seem curmudgeonly of me to say this, but I am baffled by the attention generated by Google’s announcement that they will add voice calling to Gmail. Granted, merging the voice mail box and the email box is a very friendly move for users.  Allowing an immediate follow up to an email, via voice, is also a nice usability feature.  Aren’t these staples of modern day unified communications systems?

Google Voice doesn’t often show up on my radar any more.  It’s not available to those of us who live north of the 49th parallel, so I don’t use it.  That’s a shame.  If Google Voice did supply service here, I would surely take advantage of all of its super cool features like call screening, one number, voice transcription and more. For reasons that are unclear to me, though, especially since Google offers unlimited calls to the United States and Canada, Canadians don’t have access.  Maybe it’s payback for the defeat of the US Men’s Hockey Team at the Olympics?  Who knows?!  That’s as good a theory as any, I suppose.

These days, if I want one-click calling from within email, I turn to Skype.  And perhaps that’s the reason Google is adding these features to Gmail now – Skype already has them, and word on the street is that Skype and Google are headed for a showdown.

Skype also has a global international network, that includes Canada.

So how about it, Team Google? Whaddya say?

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