Oct 8, 2015
It’s been such a long time, but I still remember the specifics.
I was on one of those early web clearinghouses that was related to loss prevention, and one of the topics that popped up was an invite-only services based on telephony called Grandcentral. It gave one the opportunity to pick a whole new number and even manage voicemail to said number online.
I don’t know why I wanted one, but I just had to. I began to use it, a bit sporadically, but I learned to appreciate it; it was especially useful as a contact on resumes when I didn’t want someone to have my “real” number. Shortly after I activated my account, the big news dropped: GrandCentral was acquired by Google.
Good bye, GrandCentral. Hello Google Voice.
This is when Google Voice and I hit a groove. it was beautiful. Using companion apps and a GV port on my BlackBerry, I was able to cobble a solution that allowed me to have, in essence, two numbers on one device. In the early days when folks had not yet begun to fully trust the idea of porting numbers across carriers, Google Voice gave me some indemnity: no matter what, I had a phone number that would stick with me no matter where I went.
When I toyed with trying out Android, Google Voice compatibility was a serious consideration. Thankfully, the same solutions existed, and the Android GV app was better (as to be expected). And since then, it has been a match made in a place close to heaven. I manage my GV number as my main give-out number, and text accordingly. I dial out from my native phone dialer, and for the most part it’s seamless; most people have and use my GV number to reach me.
It isn’t perfect, no; GV seems to be on the back burner, and scarily redundant with other features like Google Messenger and Hangouts getting better by the day. MMS handling is still clunky too.
Still, Google Voice was probably my first foray into web-managed services, and I still rely on it heavily, so much so that if I had to pick between my GV number and my “real” number, it would almost always be the former I choose.