Google Fiber Phone Rolling Out For Testing, Bundling Google Voice Features
A number of Google's high-speed Internet subscribers received invitations to an experimental telephone service, hinting that Google Fiber tests the waters of telephonic services.
Dubbed Google Fiber Phone, the service might remind observant users of another famous Google product, the Google Voice. Voice connects multiple telephones of a user (be it mobile or landline) into one unique phone number.
According to reports, Fiber Phone packs certain features from Google Voice, such as auto call screening and voicemail transcriptions. The call screening takes into account the time of day to function properly.
Participants in the Google Fiber Trusted Tester program received the invite during the past month. The Trusted Tester program is made out of Fiber subscribers who ticked yes next to the "try new and potential changes to the service."
In theory, Google Fiber does not feature a standard phone service. However, should the Fiber Phone extend enough throughout the country, Google has a chance to become a huge triple-play provider. This means that the company will give its users access to television, broadband Internet and telephony.
Rivals in the cable industry already offer at least two out of the three options, and Google seems to have taken notes from them.
If you are curious, you may check out a copy of the invitation being sent out to Google's customers.
Based on the invitation, the service permits you to get a new number or to use an existing number, be it landline or mobile. Then, Google simply installs a small device in the homes of all selected subscribers, who will be asked to give generous and frequent feed-back to the company.
"[...] A Fiber team member will come to your home to install a piece of equipment. If you're selected for this Trusted Tester group, we'll be actively seeking your feedback - both good and bad - so that we can improve Fiber Phone once we launch it," Google says in the invitation.
The company goes on to add that the Trusted Tester is an early access program, and therefore it should remain confidential.
Google recently unveiled Project Fi, a cellular program that hops between T-Mobile, Sprint and Wi-Fi. This reinforces the idea that Google wants a piece of the wireless market pie, and took action to get it. There is a change that, with the future expansion of Fiber Phone, Google will start to offer its broadband subscribers bundled access to Project Fi, as well.
The company did not make any official statement regarding the possible program.
A report from Oct. last year points out that Google makes small steps towards covering the United States with its high-speed fiber optic gigabit Internet network.
At the time, three cities had Fiber connection: Austin in Texas, Provo in Utah and Kansas City in Missouri. San Jose in California should be the fourth location where Google Fiber will root itself.
The company set itself to bring 1,340 miles of fiber optic cables underground, next to an extra 960 above ground.
We will keep an eye on the development of Google's infrastructure and keep you posted.