Monday, September 14, 2009

Google Voice

With Apple’s media fest last week filled with iPod and gaming introductions, I noted it’s time to announce what tool I think is best suitable for me (at this point and time) and take Apple out of the limelight for a second. Quite frankly, how often does one need to get a new iPod or upgrade their iPhone OS? Not I. But I have been using a tool worth looking at. I’ll have to stick with Google Apps this time, the most recent of my explorations is that of Google Voice.
I got a Google Voice number not too long ago, and it’s like managing your private VoIP network. With Google Voice, you get one phone number and that number will call you on as many devices as you would want. When someone calls you on your Google number, the devices you added will all ring, depending on your setting of course. I included my personal and work cell numbers, as well as my office number. Now I only need to give out one phone number, and I can choose to answer either device. What’s convenient is that  you can route the calls are you wish. For instance, my office number will not ring after 5PM, nor weekends.  You can also choose to screen unknown callers. A great feature is your voicemail. If a call goes to your voicemail, Google Voice can email the transcribed message or sent as a text (SMS) message to a mobile device of your choice.
The tricky part is that you may have a Google number, but you need to download a Google app on your mobile to call as that number, otherwise you will be calling as the number on your device. This is convenient if you have a work cell number or a personal cell number that you rather not give out. You can also make a call direct for the website. What else can you do from your website? When you login, you may send SMS messages as well, that is very convenient if you are not quick on a qwerty keyboard.
Other features on Google Voice include recording conversations and managing contacts.

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