Last night, I was invited by Google to join the Google Voice program, which gives its users a new telephone number that, when called, will automatically ring forward to one or more other phones. The service also includes electronic answering machines that transcribe the messages automatically, conference call capacity, and other features I haven’t even begun to explore.
Why haven’t I begun to explore those features? I can’t, really. I’m stuck nearly at the beginning of the Google Voice experience because of the telephone number I have been assigned by the program.
That telephone number is already being used by somebody else, someone who isn’t part of the Google Voice program at all. When I called my new number last night to test its function, my cell phone did not ring at all, and a woman living I don’t know where picked up at the other end of the line. I read her “my” number, digit by digit, and she confirmed that she is using that number as a Verizon customer.
Clearly, Google’s system for telephony hasn’t worked out all of its kinks yet. I’ve submitted a report, and the word around is that it will take a few days to get an email back from Google.
There’s a ten dollar fee for changing my Google Voice number. I don’t think I’ll pay that – as the whole point of the Google Voice service is that it’s for free. Either Google will solve its Voice problem for me, or I won’t be using its service.