I got into Google Voice today. For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, Google Voice is a kind of free super phone service. You sign up, get a number, and can forward calls to that number to your work, cell, or home phone. You can program in rules to follow (like if it is 8a-5p, forward to work, 5p-9p forward to cell, and 9p-8a forward to home). Your voicemails are transcripted and indexable, and you can listen in on them as they’re being recorded. You can also, you know, call people on it.
Anyway, the first thing you do upon opening your Google Voice account is select a number:
I haven’t moved pass this step.
Because I’m not sure what area code I want to use. In order to set this up, Google – okay, it was really GrandCentral, which Google purchased – obtained a whole slew of phone numbers in almost every area code in the country. But they don’t restrict you to selecting the area code you live in when you sign up. Right now I live in New York. But I want to move to California. Should I choose New York because that’s where I live now? But when I move, won’t that be confusing to people I give that number to? What happens if I select an area code in California but don’t end up moving there? For that matter, I could pretend I’m based in Alaska, Nebraska, or Texas – three states I’ve never visited! It could get pretty confusing if everyone starts choosing the area code they want instead of the one they live in…..
Yes, Google does let you change your number later (it’s $10). But the whole idea of Google Voice is that the number follows you from place to place. So why am I forced into choosing an area code, which inherently locks me into coming from one location? I think this is an opportunity to improve on the service. According to Wikipedia, there are several area codes not in use. Why can’t Google Voice be assigned an area code? After all, it’s entirely a virtual service, and as such is not bound by location (no idea what this would entail, but as I don’t work for Google, I don’t have to worry about the paperwork – I can just write what I want and they can choose whether or not to listen).
In the meantime, I suppose I’ll have to choose a number and stick with it for a while. Do you think that Google Voice should have its own area code? Did you put any thought into selecting your number? Or do you think that telephones are so 20th century, and video conferencing/instant messaging/twittering is the way to keep in touch? Leave a comment – I’m curious!