Starting on August 2nd, Google Voice is now international with worldwide support for the voice over IP calling service.
This move also marks full support for 38 different languages, and 4 different currencies (Euros, British Pounds, US Dollars, and Canadian Dollars) in which to stock up on calling credits. Google also claims that they have lowered calling rates to 150+ locations making it even easier and cheaper to connect internationally.
Speaking of connection fees, there are none. You will only be charged for the call time, no conversion fees, and there’s nothing extra hidden in the billing process other than local taxes which you would pay to any legitimate service. Calling between Canada and the US is still free for the rest of 2011, which is also very nice.
But how is the quality?
To be fair, consider these points :
- I’m a Skype customer of over 4 years
- I own a USB to RJ10 Skype adapter
- I use analog & bluetooth microphones/headsets
- I’ve spent hours talking over Skype
- I’ve used Skype mobile (WM6.5)
- I have over $30 US of unused Skype credit
- I prefer to use Google Voice for quality..
- Skype was the early adopter
- Skype used whatever tech was available
- Google has access to new hardware/software
- Google has very deep pockets
- Microsoft’s takeover hasn’t improved anything
Even with MS backing, Skype is at a disadvantage and it shows in call quality compared to the same calls made over Google voice. There’s less latency, less echo, and the dialling pad works more reliably with Google Voice as compared to Skype. Because we’re an English language SEO, my experience is almost entirely with calls from Canada to other Canadian phones, the US, Mexico, and the UK. I would not be surprised to hear that Skype has more modern services in freshly installed countries, but I can’t say I’ve experienced this at all.
I also can’t say that I have used the video chat feature of Google Voice, whereas I’ve actually had Skype video chat working on my car’s PC where people have called me mid-drive only to find I’m not looking them in the eye, and there’s a blur of scenery in the background. So if you wanted an opinion on video chat, I can’t help at all on that question right now as I have only tried Skype’s service.
Even if you don’t use VoIP and you’re a devote land line owner (still irreplaceable for emergencies), this is another face off between Google and Microsoft, and Microsoft has a friend with them in the ring. It should be an interesting scramble to the top with the consumers coming out as the lucky ones.