If you’ve been following along, you understand the tension between new services like Google Voice and Skype that move your voice from place to place, and the telcos and cell phone carriers that feel threatened by that technology. That’s why today’s story about mobile phones involves so many circuitous paths – paths which will twist and turn rapidly in the next year or two.
As you read, let me reiterate an important point to keep in mind. According to the promotional materials, using Google Voice is free for calls anywhere in the US and Canada, and very inexpensive for international calls. […] continued
Now things get really interesting.
Well, they do to me, anyway. I’m odd.
This is at best wildly simplified, and at worst completely inaccurate, but pay attention anyway – you’ll need to know this to understand a lot of headlines in the next few years.
Look at the wall plate where the phone is plugged in your office. There are two cables, right? One for the phone, one for the computer. That’s important.
Until recently, when you talked on the phone, your voice would travel along copper wires and fiber cables that connected to equipment run by big telephone companies, on circuits that were walled off – there were completely separate paths for voice traffic and Internet data traffic. […] continued
Previously: Understanding Google Voice
All of this started because I don’t have a reliable cell phone signal at my home office west of Sebastopol. Verizon coverage is erratic and the area has no coverage at all from AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile.
If I could, I’d use my cell phone as a single point of contact. Many of you already do that. Google Voice has little to offer you in that case, other than some cool voicemail tricks.
I need to be able to take calls on whatever phone is close to hand that works, and my cell phone doesn’t always work. […] continued
Google Voice is a free service that gives you a phone number.
When you dial my phone number, (707) 703-1601, you’re dialing a Google Voice number. Thanks to the Google Voice service, at the same moment my office phone rings, my cell phone rings, and Skype starts bonging on my computer.
When I call you, you see my Google Voice number as the Caller ID, regardless of what phone I use. When I send you a text message, you are surprised, because I don’t send text messages. But if I did, it would appear to come from the same number.
You don’t know any of the numbers assigned to my phones – all you see is the Google Voice number. […] continued
Google made a simple but profound change to the way that search results are delivered to you from the Google search page. It changes the world in a small but significant way.
You will now get two things while you type:
It’s absolutely remarkable. It will change the way you do your searches: either you’ll adjust what you’re typing on the fly, or you’ll see the search you really want listed on the dropdown list of possibilities and choose it without ever finishing what you were typing. […] continued
or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Google Chrome
I am conservative about installing software. I don’t want programs on my computers unless I intend to use them. The first thing I do with a new computer is remove unnecessary utilities and cruddy photo programs and the like installed by the computer manufacturers. I don’t install trial versions of programs until I’ve spent time learning about the programs and deciding if I’m genuinely interested. When I stop using a program, I uninstall it. I use a lot of programs but I have very few programs on my office computer that I don’t use regularly. […] continued
If I’d thought about it, I would have realized that Google Translate had to exist. It does exactly what you’d expect from an online translator: type in a phrase and it can be translated into another language; type in a web address and it will present the entire page translated into another language. Try it! It’s fun to see your favorite web site in Turkish or Lithuanian.
Google has been updating it frequently with additional languages until now it’s possible to go back and forth between dozens of languages, including a couple of Chinese variations, Japanese and other Asian languages, Hindi, and some Middle Eastern languages. […] continued
The Sad State Of Law Office Software
I’m going to work up to specific products, but let’s start with the concept of storing valuable, confidential data in the cloud, on servers run by some big company.
As a lawyer in a small firm, think of the scariest example you can imagine – say, your highly sensitive letter to a client outlining the risks in your litigation strategy, or notes on the phone conversation with a client where she confessed to killing Colonel Mustard in the library with a candlestick. Save the file as a Word document on the server in the file room. […] continued
Wayne Small, an Australian SBS consultant, took a look at Google’s license agreement recently and wrote up a nice reminder that big companies do not make any pretense of playing nicely with your information.
Google Terms of Service cover all of Google’s services, including Gmail. There are some provisions that shouldn’t be surprising – for example, that Google can turn services off without warning or notice, with no consequences.
You probably already know that Google runs through the text of email messages to decide what advertisements will be presented, but it’s interesting to find out that Google has reserved the right to filter, modify, or remove anything you receive by email. […] continued
Microsoft has introduced Office Web Apps, free online versions of Office programs that can be used entirely inside a web browser. Visit http://office.live.com to take a look at technology that will change our world.
That sounds breathless and exciting, right? It’s not hyperbole. You are living through a long-term shift away from dependence on individual computers and toward shared resources that live online and can be accessed from any of our devices, big and small.
The problem is that this first incarnation of Office Web Apps is pretty weak. You have to squint to see the future from here. […] continued