Google enters the landline business with Fiber Phone
Google has its tentacles wrapped around many things. Not only does it dominate search, and provide the most popular mobile operating system with Android, but it is also an ISP with Fiber and a cellular provider with Project Fi. If it involves the movement, collection, or analysis of data, the search giant seems interested.
With so many people owning smartphones nowadays, you'd expect landline service to be going the way of the dodo bird, but there are many reasons to have it, such as dependability in an emergency. Today, Google is surprisingly entering the landline business with the VoIP-powered Fiber Phone. No, it is not an early April Fool's Day joke, folks -- it is the real McCoy.
"Fiber Phone is meant to give you everything you want from a home phone service, plus a lot more. For $10/month, you get unlimited local and nationwide calling, and the same affordable rates as Google Voice for international calls. You can keep your old phone number, or pick a new one. You can use call waiting, caller ID, and 911 services just as easily as you could before. Fiber Phone can also make it easier to access your voicemail -- the service will transcribe your voice messages for you and then send as a text or email", says John Shriver-Blake, Product Manager, Google Fiber.
Shriver-Blake further explains that the Google landline service "can help you make the most of your home phone -- even when you're not at home. Adding Fiber Phone means getting access on the road, in the office, or wherever you are. Your Fiber Phone number lives in the cloud, which means that you can use it on almost any phone, tablet or laptop. It can ring your landline when you're home, or your mobile device when you’re on-the-go".
If you already have home phones that you like, don't worry -- Fiber Phone will work with existing handsets. If you are already familiar with other VoIP services, the concept is the same -- a box connects your phone wiring to your router.
Unfortunately, Fiber Phone will only be made available to Google Fiber ISP customers -- most people will not be able to use this low-cost landline service. Even if you are one of the small number of people with access to Fiber, the search-giant will only be rolling it out gradually, starting with certain cities. In other words, only an extremely small percentage of consumers in the USA can look forward to this anytime soon.
If you are interested, you can sign up for updates here.