This is the time of the year where millions of people are waiting for an announcement from Google disclosing whether Google Voice will be free for 2013 or not. We have done our homework on this and looking at the patterns we are sure Google Voice will be free for 2013. Marco says I am out of my mind for jumping into this conclusion wihtout a solid proof but then, Marco is merely a techy nerd while I am a businessman who understands another businessman i.e. Google in this case. Moreover, it is not just my gut feeling, I have done my homework to draw the conclusion that Google voice has to be free. If Google Voice is not free for 2013, I promise I will never make a prediction (officially) and post it on CorVoIP.
Announcement Date for Google Voice
Now, I am feeling cocky about it but I will say the announcement will be made between the week of December 16th – December 21st. This is based on the reason that when Google announced last year that they were extending Free Google Voice for one more year, it was 13th of December. Since they missed the date this year, I am still confident it should be announced either on Monday December 17th or Tuesday December 18th, 2012. Watch out for Google Voice blog.
What changes with Google Voice for 2013
Google’s pattern of business has been consistent among various products that they launched – both those that were a success and those that did not make the cut after a few months. Google starts with invitation only registrations and then rolls it out to everyone. Then they wait for a few months to see if there are any glitches or not. After that, they put ads on top of whatever made it to the mainstream.
Let us see if this is true: Google’s most popular (can I say that?) app is Gmail (search is not/should not be called an app) which is used by people worldwide. Gmail started as an invitation only email service where each user had about 30 invites they could send out. Then those invites will be replenished with new batch and so on. Then they made it public and anyone could join. Today, it is a service that delivers ads to you while you read your emails.
Same goes with services that did not do very well worldwide. For instance, Google launched Orkut a social networkin website that was aimed to compete with facebook before Google Plus. Orkut did not have ads when it started but it is full of ads now. There was a mass outcry when ads were introduced to Orkut as they were not subtle as in Gmail but they were way too prominent and bothering.
So, this brings us to the main question as to how this works out for Google Voice. Google voice is a combination of two services – Free calls and free text messages. If Google was to introduce ads in these services it has only a few things to do.
1) Add a small ad at the end of text messages based on the content of the message. This will reduce the number of letters you can send in a text message but it is not that bad. Although, given the sexting scenrio of teens especially in USA, it could be disasterous.
2) Play a small ad before the person can talk on phone. There are also ringtone replacement technologies that Google can explot in this case. However, it does not work out well as we have seen in the case of Ringplus and Tuitalk. However, Google is a different beast and at that scale, it can pull a good number of advertisers to advertise with them.
3) Make the API a paid API for the services who use Google Voice, for instance if ObiHai wants to use Google Voice for the free homephone solution (as it has been doing so for few years) they need to pay Google a royalty. This is something I doubt they will do, although they might put additional restriction for those who want to use their APIs. Similar to what they did with their Google Adwords API.
Before you leave, may I ask you what do you think about it? Take the poll below and leave a comment.