Last week at work, a colleague at work was talking about a Google app he just configured called Google Voice. Google Voice reminds me of a service I use to sell at Bell Atlantic Mobile called Contact Line (which gave you a 800 number for people to call and that call would be routed to your pager, cell, office, or home phone); but Google Voice is more advanced with the web interface, e-mail and SMS notifications.
First you need to sign up for Google Voice. I had to wait about four days to receive the e-mail which invites you to setup the service. I got to choose my new phone number from a list in my area code (you can use your zip code too). So far here is what I like about Google Voice:
- First I can give that number out to anyone without having to give them my personal cell, home, or work phone numbers
- If I change jobs or move to a office, I can configure Google Voice to go to the new phone number without having to notify everyone of the change
- I can configure any phone not to receive calls during hours when I know I am not there: example would be no need to ring the home phone when I am at work
- I can have Google Voice transcribe the voice message into text and send me an e-mail to one or multiple e-mail addresses when a voice message arrives (see comments below)
- I can have contacts in different groups to enable different features (Friends, Family, Coworkers)
- Allow Caller ID to be passed through to my phone instead of of my Google Voice number
The one option that I don’t think works too well is transcribing the voice message into an e-mail. I left several test messages and many words are wrong. Plus I receive 2 SMS messages to my cell phone with each new voice message. The first message states I have a new message then a second message follows with the poorly transcribed message. To resolve that just disable Transcribe from the Settings screen.
I also decided to have the Caller ID send me the Google Voice number instead of the number of the person calling me. I might change that back after seeing how well these settings I picked worked.