When people like me convince businesses to go to Google, we often cite the rapid pace of innovation that is going on at Google right now compared to the current slow complex progression of Microsoft and Lotus products. Google seem to have just gotten started in the enterprise space, yet they are already out-innovating the rest of the Internet.
Well, now it isn't just Microsoft who need worry about Google's plans. Skype, SIP vendors, Cisco and the traditional Telcos could be in for a big fight if Google Voice gets a foothold and delivers upon its promise.
Google Voice is the reincarnation of Grand Central, a service Google bought a few years ago and is incorporating into its portfolio of products. Grand central isn't just a voicemail service for your many phone lines. It is also a lot of other important products, many of which would be a great fit into the enterprise.
Google number - One number for all your calls and SMS
* Call screening - Announce and screen callers
* Listen in - Listen before taking a call
* Block calls - Keep unwanted callers at bay
* SMS - Send, receive, and store SMS
* Place calls - Call US numbers for free
* Taking calls - Answer on any of your phones
* Phone routing - Phones ring based on who calls
* Forwarding phones - Add phones and decide which ring
Google voicemail - Voicemail as easy as email, with transcripts
* Voicemail transcripts - Read what your voicemail says
* Listen to voicemail - Check online or from your phone
* Notifications - Receive voicemails via email or SMS
* Personalize greeting - Vary greetings by caller
* Share voicemail - Forward or download voicemails
Voice features - More cool things you can do with Google Voice
* Conference calling - Join people into a single call
* Call record - Record calls and store them online
* Call switch - Switch phones during a call
* Mobile site - View your inbox from your mobile
* GOOG-411 - Check directory assistance
* Manage groups - Set preferences by group
It isn't too hard to imagine Google becoming a small business VOIP provider. In fact, it isn't too hard to imagine them becoming a full phone company.
But back to (small) business: Imagine if Google not only took care of your messaging needs (Email, Calendar, Addressbook, etc.) but it also integrated a voice communications system as well. Exchange and Notes have ports to VOIP products but they don't integrate them in one package. Google's integration would be a huge advantage out of the box. Even Google's online competition like Zimbra and Zoho office wouldn't be able to match this functionality.
Again, one of the reasons to pick an enterprise messaging platform for a small company is not just what it can do right now, but where it will be in the next few years. Google is demonstrating again that it is leading the charge in changing the business-technology landscape. It is hard to imagine a competitor matching Google's ambitions any time soon.
This story, "Google Apps Businesses Should Love Google Voice" was originally published by Computerworld.