Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm still on a rant about Google Voice!

So, I was reading this article by the New York Times about Google Voice's voicemail transcription feature and I have to agree the feature is pretty experimental.  If you click the link you can hear the original message and read the associated transcriptions that many people left in the author's voice mail inbox.  Some of them are sort of funny.

In my own experiences, I've finished setting up a station near my computer for answering the phone using a free online service for incoming calls.  Which means in the event that I were to travel to a foreign country like India or Australia, then I would be able to answer calls made to my Google Voice account's phone number.  Of coarse the neat thing about that is that I could do so without any long distance charges, however I would have to find a relatively good quality internet connection.  I'm sure that could prove difficult outside of major cities.

Some of the stuff I played around with this weekend were features like:

  • Call screening, which allows me to send someone directly to voicemail, then listen to the message, and even pick up if I determine it's someone I actually want to talk to.

  • Call Recording, which allows me to record a telephone conversation for future reference.

  • Temporary numbers, which is a feature that allows me to use my cell phone to any phone number as a temporary number.  Meaning, that I can use that number to modify account setting, and the phone will ring when my Google Voice number is called. (Like if I go stay at my parents' house, which is a notorious dead zone for all cell companies including Verizon, I can have their house phone ring when my Google Voice number is dialed.)

  • Call Transfer, which allows me to answer the phone on one phone service (like my VOIP account, cell phone, or a land line) then transfer the call to any other number I have registered with the service.  Including temporary numbers.

  • Contact groups, which allow me to choose which phones ring for each group of contact, which voicemail message each group hears, and even what time I accept calls from each contact.  So, if you have a company running off of your Google Voice account, then you can either send people directly to voice mail after 5PM, or only have the work phone ring when those people call.  I set it up so those annoying recruiters will go directly to voice mail and hear a message indicating that I am not seeking employment, but please leave a message.

  • Text messaging option, which allows me to send and receive text messages for free using my Google Voice number, but having them forwarded to my cell phone still uses a text plan.

  • Ring Schedule, which mean now, when you call me at work, you will go straight to voice mail.  Which is actually a good thing, because I can check the voice mail on my computer as soon as you are finished leaving it.  Then I can respond via email or text message immediately, or I can call you back at my next break.

     There is so much more that can be done with Google Voice, and the service is definitely changing the way I use my phone, and think about my phone number.  All I need now is one of two things: either a second Google Voice account that will allow me to port my existing cell phone number over and forward to my main Google Voice Account, or a way to link two phone numbers to my Google Voice account.

     My concern is that once my Verizon contract is over, I want to be able to get rid of the Verizon account, but still keep the phone number.  In other words, come on Google, you can do it!

So, what is my over all take on Google Voice?  Well, it's like when I switched from an AOL account that was liked to a specific paid subscription service that provides internet access, to my gmail account, which is a free service that isn't liked to the person I get my phone service from.

Anyway, that's all folks!