Competition benefits the customer. It’s why the government scrutinizes billion-dollar mergers. It took two whole years to approve the $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. Competition — and the usability of iPhones and MacBooks — pushed Apple past Microsoft as the most valuable technology company in the world in 2010. Conversely, many fans would argue that their enjoyment has suffered since Electronics Arts put an end to its competition in the simulation-style NFL video game space by obtaining the league’s exclusive rights way back in 2005. In social, if Snapchat and TikTok didn’t come along, Instagram probably wouldn’t have added Stories or Reels to its platform. Sure, you could argue that Instagram simply copied the competition, but for the end user, each platform becomes more valuable while pushing the others to innovate. In other words, the mere existence of viable alternatives is critical for iteration and innovation.
There’s an old African proverb that goes “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” Clearly, they hadn’t played NFL 2K5.
In this article, we cover:
- Customer benefits when competition exists.
- Google Voice and the phone services landscape.
- What the alternatives offer that Google Voice doesn’t.
There are many competitors in the arena of telephone services. Same as dozens of other tech niches, one particular name stands quite recognizable: Google. The search giant is on a very short list of the most recognizable, valuable tech brands in the world. No one would fault you for placing your trust in its phone services. And though it’s offered Google Voice since 2009 when it acquired GrandCentral, Google — as only Google can do — has given it on-again-off-again support in the intervening 12 years.
Look, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) still knows where its bread is buttered. You’ll never see the iconic search bar go stale for a nanosecond, but like many other side projects, its interest comes and goes. It doesn’t lack for iteration and innovation because competition doesn’t exist (it surely does) but because a behemoth like Google just has bigger fish to fry.
It’s like the Apple Podcast app. People love podcasts. The term was coined as a combination of “iPod” and “broadcast.” And Apple offers its library completely free. What’s not to like? Well, the app is a bit of a disaster. Have you ever tried to browse a show’s back catalog through the app? It starts by displaying some confusing combination of the most recently played episodes along with ones you’ve downloaded in some frenetic order. And when you attempt to view all episodes, they’re sorted by most recent season in ascending episode order — which can feel sort of like a brain teaser. And there’s been nary a significant feature update in ages. Agh! We’re getting dizzy and frustrated just thinking about it.
But we digress. The point is not to disparage Apple, but to illustrate that just because it’s a big brand doesn’t always mean you’re getting a company’s best.
Why Seek a Telephone Service Other Than Your Carrier’s?
There are many features that make non-carrier phone services worth your while.
Second phone number: A second phone number is a great companion to your main line. One can be your personal number while the other handles business calls. Or perhaps your second number could act as a privacy buffer, the number you give out to stay anonymous when applying for a new apartment, registering for new services, or calling on a Craigslist or Offerup sale.
Visual Voicemail: By untethering yourself from your carrier’s voicemail, you open up a world of possibilities. You can access your voicemails from anywhere — your laptop, desktop, or tablet — not just your smartphone.
Text messaging: Why should Apple Messages (formerly known as iMessage) users get all the fun? By releasing texts from the grips of carrier SMS, they become accessible and searchable anywhere.
A Google Voice Alternative Can Offer More
While Google Voice can provide many of the basics, the fact that it’s not its parent’s favorite child starts to show when compared to more advanced, phone-centric offerings.
- Best-in-class robocall blocking: Google tries, but when you dip in and out of the trenches of robocall warfare, you’re going to fall short compared to grizzled veterans. The best robocall blocking solution does it day in and day out by iterating on its technologies and keeping an expansive database of bad phone numbers and trends.
- Professional greeting > Personalized greeting: Being able to record your own personalized greeting that every missed caller hears is fine. But let’s face it, not everyone was born with golden pipes. Google doesn’t keep professional voice talent on stand-by to give your business greetings that extra bit of polish. Others do.
- Premium business offerings: After years of neglect, Google finally woke up and added Google Voice to its G Suite for business customers — long overdue and table stakes, really. Business-user-first phone services have met entry level expectations and exceed them every day, including advanced features such as auto attendant, virtual receptionist, call routing, and more.
- Update cadence: Speaking of G Suite, Google added Google Voice to its business offerings in 2019. G Suite started as “Google Apps for Your Domain” in 2006, three years before Google Voice was born. Will it take another decade before the next natural connection is made within a crowded stable of Google products? How long will it take for Google Voice services to catch up each time a competitor surpasses it?
The Alternative You Deserve
Google is great at certain things. For other things, let’s just say thank goodness you have excellent alternatives. For phone services, the alternative is clear. YouMail delivers on everything Google Voice strives to provide and more. And our focus is clear and hyper-focused: to provide a full complement of best-in-class features for free. And if you’re an entrepreneur looking to outfit a staff on a small-business budget, we’ve got you too.
The good news for you?
With healthy competition, the customer wins again.