There’s been quite a buzz surrounding Google’s release of Google voice. The offering is the second coming of GrandCentral, the service Google acquire a few years back.
Folks. Google voice is not a business. It is simply a feature of a larger offering (which may or may not come to fruition).
You have to look at Google voice in the context of what Google is – an advertising company that wants to be a commerce company. To think that Google has ambitions past bolstering and or protecting their main income streams (ads) is far fetched at best.
In order for Google to continue to drive ad revenues they need more advertisers. To do this they need to make it easier to create something that requires advertising (I.E. an online business).
Slowly but surely Google is piecing together all of the components an entrepreneur or existing offline business needs to do business online. Sort of what eBay tried to do (but is failing at with) PayPal and Skype.
Google offers a way to make a site (Sites), optimize it for search (Site optimizer, webmaster tools), advertise it (Adwords, Ad manager), track performance (Analytics) and take payments (Google checkout). Now sprinkle in hosted productivity and collaboration products like Google docs, and way to communicate (Google Voice, Google talk) you’ve got all of need to launch a basic business online.
Today these all look like disparate offerings, but when put together they actually fit together well.
Can Google execute on this? Don’t know. That’s their problem.
But don’t expect them to be a VoIP/voice provider in any traditional sense.
Worse case they’ll use Google voice as a way to cover the black hole created by online leads that are converted offline. Like what Ifbyphone is doing with their call tracking services.
It’s a big problem for many marketers. Many of which would spend more if they new where all of their revenues were coming from.