I have a Google Voice number (originally from a Grand Central beta invite.) I love the concept, but I don’t publish my Google Voice number. Why am I passing up on making use of cool technology that can route my calls to me wherever I am? Fear of audio advertising.
We’re inundated with advertising throughout our online experience, watching movies, and for some even on their mobile phones. I see a phone call as more personal and intimate than any other form of electronic communication. My friends and family have had my phone numbers for years – I saw Google Voice as a great opportunity to centralize my phone numbers into one published number that could follow me around. But, if a customer is calling me for work or a prospect is calling me about consulting, the last thing I want them to hear are advertisements while they’re waiting for me to get to the phone. Especially when there’s an opportunity the advertisement could be from a competitor or from some company/service I wouldn’t want to be associated with or perceived as endorsing.
For me, it’s one thing to see ads in the sidebar of a web site (easily ignored), but an entirely different story to force callers to endure them while waiting to speak with me. You could make the argument that I could just let everyone know if I ever decided to stop using Google Voice or take the number with me. I’m under no illusion that the agreements Google puts me through give me any real say in the matter. I see phone calls for more important/urgent real-time communications.
If the point of engaging online is to connect and stay connected, would you take the risk that some may not be able to find you later on, when some new tech fad comes along and makes Google Voice look “so 2009″?