For the longest time the only way to try out Google’s new product Google Voice was to be invited, but I never took the time to seek out an elusive invite. Yesterday Google Voice was finally made available to the public, and being a willing participant of the Google takeover, I set up my account.
Setup was super easy, if you have a Google Account (which you should), there is nothing more to signing up than typing in your password and choosing a phone number. You can choose your phone number by typing in your area code, or typing in a phrase that you want, and it lists all available numbers. For example, I first tried searching for “austin”, but there were no corresponding numbers available. This isn’t too surprising considering Austin is a six letter word, and you’re searching for a seven digit number. I then tried “hutch” and found several pages of options to choose from.
- Voice mail
Any call that is placed to your Google number can either be accepted or sent to voice mail (duh), but trust me it gets a lot more interesting. Voice mails are tied to your account, and you can access them from anywhere you can connect to the internet. They are saved and transcribed automatically. No more going through an annoying menu in a hopeless attempt to find a voice mail that actually was deleted three days ago.
All texts that are sent to your Google number are archived on your account, making it the easiest way to back up your texts available. You literally don’t have to do anything, other than make sure that people are texting your Google number and not your original number.
- Connecting Phones
When someone calls your Google number, you can easily set it up to ring multiple phones. For example, the service can ring both your cell phone and home phone (what’s a home phone?) if someone calls your Google number.
Initially I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to use Google Voice, and what benefits it would provide. Seeing that it is free, I decided to grab my number and start playing around. I’m sure Google Voice does a lot of little things, but I’ll highlight the stuff that makes it valuable to me personally.
The layout similar to a Gmail account, with a voice mail inbox, a text inbox, and a contact list. Your contacts can be imported from multiple types of contact organizing software such as Outlook.
I can say I’m excited to see how I use Google Voice in the near future. Google has really hit the mark with this service, and I can see this being a useful tool for both personal and professional use.