Google’s put some serious investment into Google Voice and I am fired up about it. I am a longtime user of GrandCentral and have come to love and hate it. Here is a five minute walkthough (actual times may vary, but that is all on you) on how you can love this service too.
Ring this phone, and that phone or that one over there.
Google Voice provides you with a phone number. From that one number you can set up the service to ring your home, cell, work, mistress, payphone, fire chief, etc. So, one call to your Google Voice number can ring all these numbers you entered, simultaneously. How is this helpful? I’ve got work calls coming to my GV number and if I don’t feel like burning cell minutes, I can pick up the land line. Google allows you to control when your Google Voice number rings each phone (weekdays, weekends, or custom). These options are an improvement over the old GrandCentral.
Setting up voicemail
Google thought this one out pretty well too. Instead of relying on some microphone you’ve got hooked to your computer, it dials you on any of the numbers you’ve entered in to record your personal greeting (if you like) or name. Pretty clever.
When a new voicemail comes in, you can have Google send you an email or an SMS text to your phone. I’ve used both option with GrandCentral and they worked well. Currently, I simply send the email to my Exchange mailbox.
Screen your calls
This feature has been around and honestly I am not a fan. You can have Google Voice screen your calls which boils down to the person phoning you is greeted with “this is Google Voice, please state your name and hold please” after this information is relayed to you, you have the option of rejecting, sending to voicemail, listening in to the voicemail or man-up and take the call (or woman-up I guess). Personally, I stopped ducking calls so this wasn’t attractive to me.
Other settings include choosing the caller ID to forward to you or just your Google Voice number so you can know where the number is routing through. I see the need for both options but I go with the callers. There is a handy “Do Not Distrub” button for sending calls straight to voicemail. I love that and cannot wait for the Google app to integrate these Google Voice controls
Call and SMS
I find I am starting to use these more and more. You can click on Call, select a number from your GMail contacts and pick which phone you wish to take the call on. The SMS works simlar to the GMail chat, pick a number and fire away IM style. Both seem to be reliable.
Wanna put your number out there but not really? A call widget is what you seek, create one and your number stays hidden but the callers can reach you based on your settings. You can create widgets with their own set of conditions which is pretty handy.
Here is something brand new from Google, using the engine from their GOOG 411 service, the team will send your voicemail through transcription transforming the voicemail to text. I’ve been using PhoneTag for some time now and love it. While the CEO of PhoneTag says Google’s transcription is “total crap,” I found it to be just so so. There were loads of errors I don’t see with PhoneTag, but you get what you pay for.
Overall, I am thrilled with the upgrade and can’t wait to get into it more. Even more so, I am thrilled they upgraded my account before our Editor Iyaz…
Check out our announcement: [Gadgetell]