Google, which has transformed so many aspects of the online world, hopes to do so yet again with Google Voice.
For those unfamiliar, Google Voice is a reinvention of the telephone. Users sign up for the service and are given a phone number. Users can then link this Google Voice number so that it rings to all of their phones (whether it be their cell phone, business line, home phone, etc.).
Google Voice also collects all of the voice messages a user receives and stores them in one voicemail location. It even converts the messages to text so they can be read like an email.
There’s no denying that the technology is groundbreaking. Google has provided a solution for the many of us who struggle to properly manage multiple phone lines and at the same time created a system that could virtually eliminate the dreaded “phone tag”.
However, just because the technology is there doesn’t necessarily mean you should use it. Remember – the digital solutions put forth by Google have often times opened doors to abuse as well as opportunity.
It wasn’t that long ago that everyone was up in arms over Google Buzz misusing their data and abusing their privacy. In addition, there is the ongoing investigation as to whether or not Google broke the law by capturing personal data with wireless networks. I'm not saying it's all Google's fault, but the company has a track record of putting technology before security and, sometimes, personal rights.
So, is Google going to intentionally start harvesting your telephone data and begin selling it to advertisers? No, probably not. Not yet, anyway. The real concern is that with Google Voice all of your data will be in the lawless land of the internet.
So go ahead! Google Voice it up! Route calls here, there, and everywhere, and enjoy what truly is a very cool and useful tool, but make sure you think twice before spouting off credit cards numbers, company secrets, or anything you wouldn't want everyone on Earth to know, because for now, it's still the Wild West out there.