Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Google Voice

Coming soon...Google Voice.

Basically, Google purchased a company called GrandCentral a while back. GrandCentral provided a service that allowed people to have one phone number associated with a bunch of phone lines. There are many neat applications to this technology.

So, for example, let's say I have both a cell phone and a home phone. Using this service, I could set it up so if someone called my cell phone, both my home and cell phone would ring.

Looking at this another way, if I had a small company and wanted to have a few people doing technical support, I could set it up so that between midnight and 6 am, all calls get routed to one person, from 6 am to noon all the calls get routed to another, etc.

Or, let's say I have a small company, and I want to provide customers one phone number. I could create one number for the company, and then set it up so that it rings all of my customer service representatives, and whoever picks it up, gets it.

This is basically the way telemarketing companies work, except now you can use that for your own purposes, be they personal or professional.

Google saw how cool this is and purchased the company, and they've been working on this for the last few years. They announced in March that coming "soon", this service will be available to the public for FREE.

There are other features as well, including blocking numbers and personalizing what happens when certain people call.

There's a lot of potential here. I personally have three phone numbers (land line, cell phone, work phone), and I get no cell phone reception in my apartment. When people call my cell phone at the moment, I have to call them back from my land line while in my apartment. It would be so nice just to pick up the house phone rather than the cell phone.

Google Voice information
New York Times article


David J. Csuha, CPP, CFE said...


I was excited about Google Voice, that is until, almost on cue, a 286 student e-mailed tonight. It turns out he has the same first and last names as someone who works at a large web server provider in Texas. This student's 'alternate' attempted to forward company e-mails to his personal Gmail account, but must have made a mistake on the e-mail address. The student has received almost 50 confidential e-mails including account information and even a SolarWinds username and password!

Companies and individuals must fully understand the benefits and pitfalls of the combined services offered by Google.

Professor Cameron said...

David, this reminds me of an article Mark Gibbs wrote in Network World last year. I am always amused when our Dean of Students sends out emails that end with:

All e-mails sent from (our Dean) that contains a student's name (including attachments) should be considered confidential. It is intended for a specific individual(s) and purpose. If you are not the intended recipient as listed in the sent to categories, you are asked to delete this message. Any disclosure, copying or distribution of this type of message is prohibited.How in the world is that enforceable?

Anyway, Mark Gibbs had a really clever response to that type of signature.
Network World Article

David J. Csuha, CPP, CFE said...

Excellent article which I forwarded to the 286 student. The e-mails in question had that exact signature. My understanding is that such signatures can not be legally enforceable on their face, but they do open the door for a civil suit should the e-mail sending party become harmed through a tort committed by the "unintended recipient", e.g forwarding the e-mails to a competitor.

Fortunately for the senders in the example I posted, the student in question, "A.L.", is extremely ethical and seeking to help them close this massive, human created, security hole.