I’ve had Google Voice for over two years now & I love it!
While everything is accessible through your cellphone, you get the most benefit by using the website, where you can sign in securely, and handle voicemail similarly to how you handle your email. In your INBOX! The messages are right there, with a little [Play Audio] button at the end of each message.
These voice messages all share the same INBOX as your text messages.
From this website – you can SEND OUT text messages. In the “TO” field, you type (or “begin to type“) the person’s name. The field starts to auto-populate, based on your Gmail Contacts List.
Google Voice does a great job seamlessly configuring this concert between your Contacts List and your Caller ID. It brings everything together exactly the way you need it to.
The end result is it’s refreshingly simple to use.
In addition to sending & receiving text messages, you can also place and receive phone calls. Click someone’s name, click CALL, and all of a sudden your phone is ringing. You pick up your phone, and when you put it to your ear, you hear it ringing on the other end.
Again, Google Voice is COMPLETELY FREE. Google Voice works seamlessly with any combination of your existing phones (cell, home, or work), even if they’re all on different networks. Best part of all; each of its services is easy to set up!
Google Voice uses caller ID in conjunction with your Gmail’s “Contacts” List, so Voice will “recognize” your incoming callers, and properly route the call to your cellphone OR your home phone OR your workphone OR any other phone you might have.
Undesirable callers can be sent directly to Voicemail with no phone ring whatsoever.
To take it a step further, “BLOCKED” callers will hear three tones heralding the old dispassionate, familiar automated female voice, “We’re sorry, but the number you dialed cannot be reached, or is no longer in service. Please check the number and try your call again…” Sweet!
Your voicemail’s Outgoing Message can be individually assigned to each individual caller.
In other words, if my friend Justin calls and gets my voice mail, then he’ll hear, “DUDE! Sorry I missed you. Please leave a message, and Justin – man, you had BETTER BE FUNNY!!”
On the other hand, if my wife calls, she hears me say, “Hey Baby! Sorry I couldn’t get to the phone. So, WASSUPPP? Tell me what’s important, and I’ll call ya back. (kiss sound).”
You can set up as many of these outgoing messages as you wish, and of course – you can also create a plain, generic message for people not fortunate enough to be on your Contacts List.
Voice automatically transcribes each voice message, then (if you wish) either texts or emails it to you.
You can use your existing phone number, or get a new one given to you by Google. Free, either way.
During setup, Google asks “Would you like to have your phone’s incoming calls automatically forwarded to your new Google number?” Brian says “YES!!!”
This makes it easier on your friends & family, because they can go right on using your old phone number, just as they’ve always used. It gets forwarded (unbeknownst to them) to your new Google Phone Number. Your friends & family don’t need to make any changes to their address books.
I could go on & on about the fantastic virtues of Google Voice. But for the moment, I’ll sum it up in 3 words. Free, Reliable, User-Friendly.
If interested – check out http://voice.google.com.