From what we’ve heard, Google is very seriously planning to add a version of the Google Voice product to its Apps/Office suite of applications for businesses. Currently, businesses are offered enterprise versions of Google Docs (online Office), Gmail, calendar and other applications. More than 2 million businesses and 20 million people use Google Apps.
Google Voice gives users a phone number that they can then redirect to any phone – mobile, landline, VoIP, etc. My Google Voice number rings my home Vonage line and multiple mobile phones simultaneously. And the Android Google Voice application effectively takes over the phone for all outbound calls and text messages, too.
The consumer service will supposedly launch publicly sometime early next year. But an enterprise version, which will act as a virtual phone system for small businesses, may come soon after.
Small businesses currently have a variety of choices for their phone system. Regular phone service is just one of those options. Services like Ring Central, which is funded by Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital and DAG Ventures, offers a robust virtual phone system for businesses. Pricing ranges from $50/month. Vonage and others also offer business-focused products.
There’s no reason for Google not to enter the enterprise phone business. There’s lots of potential revenue there from tens of millions of small businesses. And they are already selling Google Apps into those businesses.
A simple version of the service would give a company a single phone number. An automated operator would then direct calls via an extension to employee phones (home business lines, mobile phones, whatever).