Google Voice is a telephone service that provides call forwarding and voicemail services, voice and text messaging, as well as U.S. and international call termination for Google Account customers in the U.S. and Canada. The service was launched by Google on March 11, 2009, after the company had acquired the service GrandCentral.
Google Voice provides a U.S. telephone number, chosen by the user from available numbers in selected area codes, free of charge to each user account. Calls to this number are forwarded to telephone numbers that each user must configure in the account web portal. Multiple destinations may be specified that ring simultaneously for incoming calls. Service establishment requires a United States telephone number. A user may answer and receive calls on any of the ringing phones as configured in the web portal. During a received call the user may switch between the configured telephones.
Users in the U.S. may place outbound calls to domestic and international destinations. Calls may be initiated from any of the configured telephones, as well as from a mobile device app, or from the account portal. As of August 2011, users in many other countries also may place outbound calls from the web-based application to domestic and international phone numbers.
Many other Google Voice services—such as voicemail, free text messaging, call history, conference calling, call screening, blocking of unwanted calls, and voice transcription to text of voicemail messages—are also available to U.S. residents. In terms of product integration, transcribed and audio voicemails, missed call notifications, and/or text messages can optionally be forwarded to an email account of the user's choice. Additionally, text messages can be sent and received via the familiar email or IM interface by reading and writing text messages in numbers in Google Talk respectively (PC-to-Phone texting). Google Voice multi-way videoconferencing (with support for document sharing) is now integrated with Google+ Hangouts.
The service is configured and maintained by the user in a web-based application, styled after Google's e-mail service, Gmail, or with Android and iOS apps on smart phones or tablets. Google Voice currently provides free PC-to-phone calling within the United States and Canada, and PC-to-PC voice and video calling worldwide between users of the Google+ Hangouts browser plugin (available for Windows, Intel-based Mac OS X, and Linux).
Almost all domestic and outbound calls to the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) and Canada are currently free from the U.S. and Canada, and $0.01 per minute from everywhere else. International calls are billed according to a schedule posted on the Google Voice website.
Late in 2009, Google Voice had approximately 1.4 million users, of which 570,000 used the service 7 days a week. This number rose markedly after Google made the transition of its Google Voice service from "invitation only" to be available to all Gmail subscribers in the United States. A Wired blog post quoted a figure of 3.5 million in 2013.
Google Account customers in most other countries other than the U.S. and Canada may only access the call termination services through the integration with Google Hangouts.
|Initial release||March 11, 2009|
|Platform||Web, Android, iOS|
Google provides free PC-to-PC voice calling worldwide. As described above, Google Voice users in many countries may make low-cost calls to international phone numbers, and currently may also make free PC-to-phone calls within the United States and Canada. Vincent Paquet, a co-founder of GrandCentral who became a senior product manager at Google, said in 2009 that he expected Google Voice domestic service to remain free because the cost of operation is so low and, "We can generate enough revenue from international calling to support the service." Several years after this prediction, the service remains free of charge.
A Google Voice local phone number for incoming calls is currently available only for users in the United States. Users may select a single U.S. phone number from various area codes. Incoming calls to the number may ring simultaneously any of the user's configured phones or the account's Google Talk feature. Based on the calling number, or contact group (e.g., Family, Friends, Work), or on time of day (e.g., disabling a home phone during business hours and routing calls to mobile or business number), individual numbers may be configured to ring. The service also features voicemail with indexable automated voicemail transcription, accessible via a web browser, e-mail, or by phone. Google Voice provides automatic blocking of known numbers, e.g., telemarketers, the ability to switch lines in mid-call, differentiated voice mail greetings based on caller, Short Message Service (SMS) forwarding, and call recording.
Previously, customers of Gizmo5, a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) service vendor acquired by Google, were allowed to forward calls to their Gizmo service which may be answered using a free computer application, or a web application, or SIP-based telephone hardware. Google discontinued Gizmo5 service on April 3, 2011.
There are several competing virtual number services, such as eVoice. Personal numbering services have been available in the United Kingdom since 1993, similar to the AT&T True Connections 500 service offered in the 1990s in the United States. AT&T's service required the direct involvement of AT&T to change the phone number list, while the Google service is user-configurable on the web application.
The original voice of GrandCentral and Google Voice belonged to actress and voice-over artist, Laurie Burke , but has been replaced with recordings by Kiki Baessell, a Googler who had no experience in professional voice-overs, but was chosen because of her pleasant, familiar voice.
GrandCentral, founded in 2005 by Craig Walker and Vincent Paquet with funding by Minor Ventures, was acquired by Google on July 2, 2007, for US$95 million in a transaction led by Miles Agha. Although Grand Central users were able to continue to use the service after the purchase, new users were not accepted, and Google made no public statements about their plans for the service. On March 11, 2009, the management of the service revealed that the team had been working on it throughout that period, apparently in secret, and that it was being rebranded "Google Voice". It was to keep most of the functionality originally offered in GrandCentral and add new features.
Google Voice was launched on March 11, 2009, based on GrandCentral, with new features, including voicemail transcriptions and SMS managing. However, GrandCentral's Ringback Tone feature was not transitioned over to Google Voice. Google transitioned former GrandCentral accounts to Google Voice and announced that the service would start accepting new members "within weeks" of the announcement. On June 25, 2009, NBC's Today Show stated that Google Voice would be available nationwide on that day. Google confirmed this in a Twitter message stating: "Google Voice on NBC Today Show. Invites to people on reservations list starting to go out today." The expansion was at first limited to users queued on the invitation list. Users with paid-in balances also received a limited number of invitation opportunities.
On July 1, 2009, Google Voice provided the option for users to change their service phone number for a U.S. $10 fee.
On September 15, 2009, GrandCentral calling services were discontinued. Subscribers who used the website could still log into the site to retrieve old messages and data. After termination of GrandCentral phone services, users who haven't moved over to Google Voice were still advised to upgrade their account to Google Voice.
On November 12, 2009, Google announced that it had acquired Gizmo5 for a reported U.S. $30 million in cash. A major effect of this announcement was that Gizmo5 suspended new signups pending re-launch by Google. Google was reported to be working on a desktop application, though rumors also circulated that the project had been scrapped in favor of a browser-based solution. On August 26, 2010 Gmail accounts with Google Voice were given a function to make and receive calls. Google Voice product manager, Vincent Paquet, confirmed that this function was added through the help of the technology received after the Gizmo5 acquisition. In 2011, the Gizmo5 site closed service to its registered members. As of January 2012, the website is no longer available.
On June 22, 2010 Google Voice dropped the requirement for invitations to become a subscriber, and the service became available to anyone in the US with a Google account.
On July 27, 2009, Apple Inc. rejected a Google Voice app that had been submitted by Google six weeks earlier. Other apps created for use with Google Voice, such as GVdialer, GV Mobile and VoiceCentral, were removed from the App Store. Apple states that the reason for the rejection and removals is that these apps replaced certain iPhone functions and features.
A Google spokesman released this statement on the matter:
We work hard to bring Google applications to a number of mobile platforms, including the iPhone. Apple Inc. did not approve the Google Voice application we submitted six weeks ago to the Apple App Store. We will continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users – for example, by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has opened an inquiry regarding the rejection of Google Voice for the iPhone. "The FCC asked why Apple rejected the Google Voice application for the iPhone and removed related 'third-party applications' from its store." The FCC has also requested Google to submit a letter describing the application of Google Voice. "The request is part of a broader-ranging inquiry by the commission on exclusive deals between cell phone carriers and handset manufacturers for hot phones."
In their response to the FCC, Google stated that the Google Voice application uses the carrier's voice network to place phone calls, dispelling misconceptions that it is a Voice over Internet Protocol application. AT&T stated that they had no role in approval or rejection of the Google Voice application. Apple stated that they had not rejected the application but were continuing to examine it. One argument against allowing the Google Voice app on the iPhone is that they are concerned that it replaces the iPhone user interface with its own; however many dialers and messaging apps are available from the app store.
As a result of rejection from the Apple Store, Google released its Google Voice iPhone application as a web app in January 2010, and certain apps like GV Mobile are available through Cydia on jailbroken iPhones.
In September 2010, Sean Kovacs, creator of the app GV Mobile +, announced on his Twitter that Apple had re-accepted the application, and it has since been available for purchase on the Apple App Store. This is the second Google Voice service app available in the Apple's official application store for a year and a half, released just a day after "GV Connect" had been available.
In January 2017, Google made the first significant updates to Google Voice in approximately five years for Android, iOS, and the Web. The user interface was overhauled with Material Design. Group and photo MMS became natively supported in Voice, not depending on Hangouts integration. Voicemail transcription for Spanish was introduced, and Google promised to provide new updates and features.
Features of Google Voice, many retained from GrandCentral, include:
While many customers in countries beside the United States have been grandfathered into Google Voice services, the features are reduced and customers are often charged for calls to their own countries. Currently Google Voice PC-to-phone calling works only for calls into the United States and Canada or for domestic or international calls from the United States and Canada; Google plans to implement this for other countries, but a time frame has not been released. A U.S. telephone number is required to obtain a Google Voice phone number for redirecting incoming calls.
As a call forwarding service, Google Voice also forwards the caller line identification (CLID or caller ID) of incoming calls to the user's telephone service. A user can choose whether to display a caller's CLID, or their Google Voice number, when receiving calls via the service.
Google Voice uses the caller's Google Voice number as the CLID on outgoing calls when the user places a call by calling the user's own Google Voice number and using the service's menu choices, or when the web-based account portal is used to place a call. With the introduction of the Google Voice application on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry phones, Google Voice users can directly dial from the Google Voice app with their Google Voice number as the outgoing CLID.
Google Voice applications for Android and iOS can automatically place outgoing calls and texts via the user's Google Voice service. They will also manage incoming texts and calls should the user desire. This allows Google Voice subscribers to send and receive free text messages on their mobile phones without paying for a texting plan or incurring service charges from their mobile provider, so long as all texts are sent and received through one's Google Voice number and not the number provided by the cell phone company.
Although Google Voice's iPhone app is not available outside of the United States, several other Google Voice clients exist for users outside the USA. For example, the GrooVe IP Android client offers this.
Google Voice does not officially support SMS to phone numbers outside of the United States. As of 1 June 2010 Google had purposely blocked international texts, with the intention of reintroducing the service once billing systems are in place.
When Google Voice was offered during beta testing, Gmail Labs offered an add-on so users could listen to voicemail messages in their Gmail inbox. Since August 26, 2010, U.S. Gmail users may place calls to the U.S., Canada, and international destinations from within Gmail. Calls to U.S. and Canadian phone numbers are free, while the cost of calls to international destinations starts at 1 cents per minute. This is possible with the help of a voice and video chat plugin for web browsers to connect to cameras, microphones, and speakers installed in the computer.
Users can also opt to have their text messages, transcribed voicemails (including an audio attachment), and/or missed calls forwarded to their Gmail account. Forwarded text messages emails can be replied to as if they were regular emails. Contacts' SMS capable phones can also be added to the user's Gmail address book or Google Talk buddy list so that text conversations can be initiated and sustained through these interfaces.
Google Voice refers to itself as an "enhanced call management application" and as such "is not capable of placing or receiving emergency services calls." Attempting to dial 911 in the U.S. indicates that the number is not valid.
Google Voice is unable to receive SMS messages from Apple iCloud Keychain.
Google Voice supports sending text messages to phone numbers in the U.S. and Canada, but users can receive text messages from anywhere in the world.
Google Voice permits Voice Over IP (VoIP) as a beta from both the web and Android clients. It formerly supported XMPP signaling but no longer does. However, it has been reported that at one time some users could receive calls with their Google Voice accounts via the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).
Hardware manufacturers such as Obihai Technology have created devices that enable the home user to use conventional wired telephone(s) to place and receive calls over their broadband connection through Google Voice, as well as other service providers.
Google Voice terminated support for some XMPP services in May 2014, disrupting service for 3rd party apps. Affected vendors included Talkatone, GrooveIP and Obihai. Obihai initially recommended its users to switch to rival providers but returned with official Google Voice support for its hardware analog telephone adapters on September 11, 2014.
Software manufacturers offer applications, such as PCPhoneSoft.com's "GVJack" App that converts magicJack dongles to use Google Voice. The GVJackApp for magicJack and the GVMate Phone Adapter are signalling independent and continued to work (using Google Hangouts) after support for XMPP was terminated.
If the telephone to which a call is forwarded does not connect within 25 seconds, then calls are routed to Google Voice's voicemail. Users who want calls to be picked up by their home, work, or mobile phone voicemail systems or answering machines must turn off call screening in Google Voice and make sure that their phone's voicemail systems or answering machines pick up before 25 seconds.
Google Voice provides no direct phone support contact number. However, users can access the Google Voice Help Center FAQ, and use the free Google Groups official Google Voice product forum for support.
Google Voice's partners that provide phone numbers, call-termination, call-routing, and other infrastructure include:
AT&T petitioned the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require Google (as it requires POTS providers) to allow calls to high-cost destinations, typically rural independent telephone companies with wholesale prices up to ten times above the national average. Google responded that it is not obligated to allow these calls.
Calling from Gmail now in 38 languages, with lower rates to over 150 destinations.
When we launched Google Voice, we offered free calling to the continental U.S. We've just expanded this to all 50 states by adding free calling to Alaska and Hawaii.
Apple Inc. is a multinational American technology company which sells consumer electronics that have been claimed by critics to combine stolen and/or purchased designs that it claims are its own original creations. Criticism of Apple includes unethical business practices such as anti-competitive behavior, rash litigation, and dubious tax tactics, their production methods involving the use of sweatshop labor, customer service issues involving misleading warranties and insufficient data security, and concerns about environmental destruction. Additionally, it has been criticized for its alleged collaboration with U.S. surveillance program, PRISM.
Allegations against the company are varied, including:
Thwarting smaller competitors
Dishonest corporate policy
E-waste and environmental destruction
Harsh labor conditions and child labor accusations
Collaborations with the U.S. government and the NSAGOOG-411
GOOG-411 (or Google Voice Local Search) was a telephone service launched by Google in 2007, that provided a speech-recognition-based business directory search, and placed a call to the resulting number in the United States or Canada. The service was accessible via a toll-free telephone number. It was an alternative to 4-1-1, an often-expensive service provided by local and long-distance phone companies, and was therefore commonly known as Google 411. This service was discontinued on November 12, 2010.Gizmo5
Gizmo5 (formerly known as Gizmo Project and SIPphone) was a Voice over IP communications network and a proprietary freeware soft phone for that network. On November 12, 2009, Google announced that it had acquired Gizmo5. On March 4, 2011, Google announced that the service would be discontinued as of April 3, 2011.The Gizmo5 network used open standards for call management, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). However, the Gizmo5 client application was proprietary software and used several proprietary codecs, including GIPS and Internet Speech Audio Codec (iSAC).Google Data Liberation Front
The Google Data Liberation Front is an engineering team at Google whose "goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products." The team, which consults with other engineering teams within Google on how to "liberate" Google products, currently supports 27 products. The purpose of the Data Liberation Front is to ensure that data can be migrated from Google once an individual or company stops using their services.Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is a communication platform developed by Google which includes messaging, video chat, and VOIP features. It replaces three messaging products that Google had implemented concurrently within its services, including Google Talk, Google+ Messenger (formerly: Huddle), and Hangouts, a video chat system present within Google+. Google has also stated that Hangouts is designed to be "the future" of its telephony product, Google Voice, and has already integrated some of the capabilities of Google Voice into Hangouts. Users can be messaged by their Google+ accounts. In March 2017 Google announced Hangouts would be developed into a product aimed at business users with the Hangouts brand divided into two main products: Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. Google announced plans in 2019 to shut down Hangouts "Classic" and transition enterprise G Suite customers to Hangouts Chat.Google Search
Google Search, also referred to as Google Web Search or simply Google, is a web search engine developed by Google LLC. It is the most used search engine on the World Wide Web across all platforms, with 92.74% market share as of October 2018, handling more than 3.5 billion searches each day.The order of search results returned by Google is based, in part, on a priority rank system called "PageRank". Google Search also provides many different options for customized search, using symbols to include, exclude, specify or require certain search behavior, and offers specialized interactive experiences, such as flight status and package tracking, weather forecasts, currency, unit and time conversions, word definitions, and more.
The main purpose of Google Search is to hunt for text in publicly accessible documents offered by web servers, as opposed to other data, such as images or data contained in databases. It was originally developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1997. In June 2011, Google introduced "Google Voice Search" to search for spoken, rather than typed, words. In May 2012, Google introduced a Knowledge Graph semantic search feature in the U.S.
Analysis of the frequency of search terms may indicate economic, social and health trends. Data about the frequency of use of search terms on Google can be openly inquired via Google Trends and have been shown to correlate with flu outbreaks and unemployment levels, and provide the information faster than traditional reporting methods and surveys. As of mid-2016, Google's search engine has begun to rely on deep neural networks.Competitors of Google include Baidu and Soso.com in China; Naver.com and Daum.net in South Korea; Yandex in Russia; Seznam.cz in the Czech Republic; Yahoo in Japan, Taiwan and the US, as well as Bing and DuckDuckGo. Some smaller search engines offer facilities not available with Google, e.g. not storing any private or tracking information.
Within the US, as of July 2018, Microsoft Sites handled 24.2 percent of all search queries in the United States. During the same period of time, Oath (formerly known as Yahoo) had a search market share of 11.5 percent. Market leader Google generated 63.2 percent of all core search queries in the United States.Google Takeout
Google Takeout (Google Takeaway in some languages, on the site itself called "Download your data") is a project by the Google Data Liberation Front that allows users of Google products, such as YouTube and Gmail, to export their data to a downloadable archive file.Google Talk
Google Talk (also known as Google Chat) (now Google Hangouts) was an instant messaging service that provided both text and voice communication. The instant messaging service is colloquially known as "Gchat", "Gtalk", or "Gmessage" to its users.Google Talk was also the name of the client applications previously offered by Google to use the service. Google Talk applications were available for Microsoft Windows, Android, BlackBerry, and Chrome OS operating systems. A Google Talk mobile web app had also been previously available. In February 2015, the Windows client was discontinued and ceased to work, with Google recommending users to use Google Hangouts instead. Users of Windows client were instructed to migrate to the Google Hangouts app on the Chrome browser platform. It remained possible to connect to Google Talk with compatible third-party apps such as Pidgin and Gajim.Google dropped support for XMPP federation in May 2014, meaning that it no longer supports communicating with other XMPP servers. However, users can still chat with other non-Google Talk users using third-party XMPP clients such as Adium.Google Voice Search
Google Voice Search or Search by Voice is a Google product that allows users to use Google Search by speaking on a mobile phone or computer, i.e. have the device search for data upon entering information on what to search into the device by speaking.
Initially named as Voice Action which allowed one to give speech commands to an Android phone. Once only available for the U.S. English locale – commands were later recognizable and replied to in American, British, and Indian English; French, Italian, German, and Spanish.In Android 4.1+ (Jelly Bean), it was merged with Google Now.
In August 2014, a new feature was added to Google Voice Search, allowing users to choose up to five languages and the app will automatically understand the spoken language.List of Google April Fools' Day jokes
Google frequently inserts jokes and hoaxes into its products on April Fools' Day, which takes place on April 1.List of Google apps for Android
The list of Google apps for Android lists the mobile apps developed by Google for its Android operating system. All of these apps are available for free from the Google Play Store, although some may not show up in search results if they are listed as incompatible with your device (even though they may still function from an *.apk). Some of Google's apps may be pre-installed on some devices, depending upon the device manufacturer and the version of Android. A few of these apps, such as Gboard, are not supported on older versions of Android.List of mergers and acquisitions by Alphabet
Google is a computer software and a web search engine company that acquired, on average, more than one company per week in 2010 and 2011. The table below is an incomplete list of acquisitions, with each acquisition listed being for the respective company in its entirety, unless otherwise specified. The acquisition date listed is the date of the agreement between Google and the acquisition subject. As Google is headquartered in the United States, acquisition is listed in US dollars. If the price of an acquisition is unlisted, then it is undisclosed. If the Google service that is derived from the acquired company is known, then it is also listed here. Google itself was re-organized into a subsidiary of a larger holding company known as Alphabet Inc. in 2015.
As of December 2016, Alphabet has acquired over 200 companies, with its largest acquisition being the purchase of Motorola Mobility, a mobile device manufacturing company, for $12.5 billion. Most of the firms acquired by Google are based in the United States, and, in turn, most of these are based in or around the San Francisco Bay Area. To date, Alphabet has divested itself of four business units: Frommers, which was sold back to Arthur Frommer in April 2012; SketchUp, which was sold to Trimble in April 2012, Boston Dynamics in early 2016 and Google Radio Automation, which was sold to WideOrbit in 2009.Many Google products originated as services provided by companies that Google has since acquired. For example, Google's first acquisition was the Usenet company Deja News, and its services became Google Groups. Similarly, Google acquired Dodgeball, a social networking service company, and eventually replaced it with Google Latitude. Other acquisitions include web application company JotSpot, which became Google Sites; Voice over IP company GrandCentral, which became Google Voice; and video hosting service company Next New Networks, which became YouTube Next Lab and Audience Development Group. CEO Larry Page has explained that potential acquisition candidates must pass a sort of "toothbrush test": Are their products potentially useful once or twice a day, and do they improve your life?Following the acquisition of Israel-based startup Waze in June 2013, Google submitted a 10-Q filing with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) that revealed that the corporation spent $1.3 billion on acquisitions during the first half of 2013, with $966 million of that total going to Waze.Obihai Technology
Obihai Technology manufactures analog telephone adapters which support SIP (session initiation protocol), XMPP and Google Voice compatible Internet telephony.Outline of Google
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Google:
Google – American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products that include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, software, and hardware.Sipdroid
Sipdroid is a voice over IP mobile app for the Android operating system using the Session Initiation Protocol.Sipdroid is free and open source software released under the GNU General Public License.Traffic pumping
Traffic pumping, also known as access stimulation, is a controversial practice by which some local exchange telephone carriers in rural areas of the United States inflate the volume of incoming calls to their networks, and profit from the greatly increased intercarrier compensation fees to which they are entitled by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.As of March 2010, traffic pumping is the subject of an ongoing legal and regulatory dispute involving AT&T, Google Voice, rural phone carriers, and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).Upptalk
Upptalk (formerly known as Yuilop) is a proprietary voice-over-IP service and software application that provides mobile phone numbers in the cloud and allows users to call or text any phone for free whether or not the device receiving the calls and texts has the Yuilop application.Yuilop provided phone numbers can be accessed across any device on the internet (IP) and are reachable via regular phone calls (PSTN) from any landline or mobile phone, and SMS. Calls and chats to other users within the yuilop network service are free of charge. Unlike most other VoIP services, yuilop does not charge for off network communication. Calls and SMS to landline telephones and mobile phones use virtual credits that are earned for free through participating in promotional activities and using the app. Yuilop does not require credit for national calls and SMS in the U.S. Yuilop has additional features, including instant messaging, group chat, and location, and photo sharing. Competitors include Skype, Viber and Google Voice.Voice search
Voice search, also called voice-enabled, allows the user to use a voice command to search the Internet, or a portable device. Currently, voice search is commonly used in (in a narrow sense) "directory assistance", or local search. Examples include Google 411, Tellme directory assistance and Yellowpages.com's 1-800-YellowPages.
In a broader definition, voice search include open-domain keyword query on any information on the Internet, for example in Google Voice Search, Cortana, Siri and Amazon Echo. Given that voice-based systems are interactive, such systems are also called open-domain question answering systems.
Voice search is often interactive, involving several rounds of interaction that allows a system to ask for clarification. Voice search is a type of dialog system.Wesley Chan
Wesley Chan was an early product innovator at Google Inc., best known for founding and launching Google Analytics and Google Voice, and building Google’s early advertising system. He is currently a Managing Director at Felicis Ventures and invests in early-stage technology and software startups.