Friday, May 15, 2009

SkyDeck Google Voice Mashup

With this mashup, SkyDeck provides you the ability to have people call your regular phone number but at the same time utilize Google Voice features such as:

* Call screening - Announce and screen callers
* Listen in - Listen before taking a call
* Block calls - Keep unwanted callers at bay
* SMS - Send, receive, and store SMS
* Place calls - Call US numbers for free
* Taking calls - Answer on any of your phones
* Phone routing - Phones ring based on who calls
* Forwarding phones - Add phones and decide which ring
* Voicemail transcripts - Read what your voicemail says
* Listen to voicemail - Check online or from your phone
* Notifications - Receive voicemails via email or SMS
* Personalize greeting - Vary greetings by caller
* Share voicemail - Forward or download voicemails
* Conference calling - Join people into a single call
* Call record - Record calls and store them online
* Call switch - Switch phones during a call
* Mobile site - View your inbox from your mobile
* GOOG-411 - Check directory assistance
* Manage groups - Set preferences by group

Unfortunately, Google Voice accounts are currently only available to those who had already signed up for the Google Grand Central service.

After testing for only 24 hours, the only issue that appeared (and this is a big one for me) is the address book sync does not work well. In fact, it sucks. I tried sync'ing with both the phone address book and my GMail contacts. Neither effort yielded an accurate rendition over on SkyDeck. The big problem was the loss of the name associated with specific phone numbers.

Holding this major issue aside, I must admit this mashup provides me with exactly what I was originally hoping that Google Voice would provide.

Thanks SkyDeck. I hope that the address book situation improves.

UPDATE on 2009-05-19:
Well things did not go well with the address book and the import of the T-Mobile activity information. Maintaining names on activity import is very cumbersome and because of the poor sync between SkyDeck and G1 phone address book a large number of number/name combos were lost. This means that they would appear on SkyDeck without names and the update process is a one-by-one process.

Thinking I could speed things along by moving all the known entries to the "B-list" and then just work on the "A-list" of no names was yet another mistake. When all known address book entries were moved to the B-list they disappeared. Never to be seen again. This is a major issue.

In my opinion, SkyDeck would have been better served by waiting and testing the address book maintenance. My advice would be to wait until they have a more refined offering that works more completely.

Sorry SkyDeck, I deleted my account.

UPDATED: 2008-05-20:

After deleting my SkyDeck account, I decided to try again without activating the sync to SkyDeck from either GMail or my phone. I setup one sync as a manual copy from my GMail account. I then made sure that no sync activity would occur. THe contacts are now correct, at least for this one time. All other aspects work great.
My only whine is not with SkyDeck but rather with Google Voice. The issue is that callers hear 8 rings before Google Voice gets the call and then answers. Three of the rings are from my cell phone and the remaining five are Google Voice. I could not find a way to reset the GV number of rings.

I am thrilled that this is now working.


Mark said...

Hey Rich,

Thanks for the post. I work at Skydeck and am sorry you had issues with your address book. If you email us at support at skydeck dot com we would love to help you out.

Rich said...

Per Mark's request I sent the following to SkyDeck Support -

Dear Support:

I have been testing the SkyDeck/Google Voice mashup for about 24 hours. Works great with one exception.
The address book sync'ing appears to cause duplicates to appear on both my phone and within GMail.

Here is what I did as a test.
Configured SkyDeck to sync with both my G1 contacts and GMail contacts.
This brought in all my contacts to SkyDeck including new ones from from G1 phone that had not yet been sync'ed with GMail.

I did do a sync reset from SkyDeck once because it appeared that the phone sync'ing had frozen.
After that the contacts looked good on SkyDeck.

The first problem I noticed was on the SkyDeck side. Phone numbers had come over but none of the associated names.

The next two problems I noticed was the duplication of entries on both the G1 phone and GMail.
Please note that I also sync my G1 phone contacts with my GMail contacts on a regular basis. This was normal procedure prior to SkyDeck and worked for keeping numbers, names, data and images in sync on contact lists.

At present I have turned off all of the SkyDeck sync'ing and Am in the process of cleaning out the dups from G1 and GMail lists.