Google Voice Appears to be Vaporware So Far

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Google caused quite a stir on March 11 with an overnight announcement about the re-branding of its Grand Central acquisition as Google Voice. The story was picked up and has been trumpeted on several continents over the past week as a revolutionary IP voice service that would give users one phone number to ring multiple telephones, one voice mailbox and sophisticated call-out features meant to rival eBay’s Skype service for cheap long distance calling.

The service was supposed to be available “in the next couple of days” to Grand Central account holders, but, as of press time Wednesday, the private beta group intended to benefit from Google’s big move into Internet telephony were still receiving a message that says: “Your account will soon be available for upgrade to Google Voice. Thank you for your patience.”

It’s not like a company of Google’s stature to release vaporware, so is there a problem with the service or has Google merely succumbed to the temptation of using hype as a marketing device?

Voxilla has calls into Google Voice Product Manager Craig Walker — we’ll let readers know what the company has to say when and if we hear back.

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  • Being one who, against my gut instinct, I went ahead and upgraded from Grand Central to “Voice”, I immediately wished I could go back. The service was very buggy and was completely unusable on the version of Firefox that I was using. I did fire up another browser and was able to get it to work.

    Also, I noted that I had to re-record my outgoing message as it was not transferred over from the old service. This turned out to be a very difficult process as I kept getting error messages.

    I have managed to finally make it work for me, but it is very apparent that the service was not ready for “prime time” as they say.

    Darren Weeks

  • Ben

    I upgraded as soon as they let me–I’m not sure what the delay was–but it’s pretty awesome. The downside is that a lot of the data I’ve entered–contacts, OGM, etc–needed to be re-created, but the upside, with the new SMS and outgoing call functionality is excellent. GVoice now is a fully-functioning all-around system.

  • Dave

    Oh, Lonnie, please bring your head back into the sunshine. Google is rolling the new service out, albeit more slowly than most would have preferred. It’s excellent, but still young. In a year it will be outstanding. Your inflammatory words suggest a desire to generate more heat than light. Maybe you should be an arsonist.

  • Adrian

    I upgraded and love it! the only reason I could never replace my cell number with grandcentral was the lack of SMS, but now with google voice it’s taken care of!

    Ben: You can export your GC contacts to a CSV file and import it in Google Voice.

    The only thing you need to do manually is assign groups.

  • I did not have a Grand Central account prior to the announcement. I signed up and was told Google will notify me when the service becomes available.

    Any ideas as to when non-Grand Central users will get access?

  • Gui

    After I upgraded to GV the transition was smooth. No issues so far.

  • I’m using GV now and absolutely loving it.

    Some people (myself not included) have created quite a stir about the privacy issues, however… you can read my analysis of that here:

    http://www.corruptionoflol.com/?p=39

  • Richard in PA

    No problems with the upgrade. Took me a couple minutes to realize that they’d “call” me to have me record my name and greeting. But once I got that through my skull I was fine. Call quality seems a bit better than with Grand Central though latency was a bit too long for my taste when I had Google Voice set up a call that originated on a VoIP line and terminated on a POTS line.