After using Google Voice on and off for the past few weeks and the new GV Mobile App on my iPhone for the last day, I’m pretty much ready to make the move to Google Voice full-time.
There are a few reasons for this and the quality and speed of the iPhone app is one of them, but before I jump into those reasons in any detail let’s take a second to talk about what Google Voice is… and isn’t.
Google Voice is a rebadged and enhanced GrandCentral that is currently only available to those who previously used GrandCentral. Fortunately I had used the service briefly a while back so i was able to get a Google Voice account pretty quickly. While it does make use of Google Talk, Google Voice is not, first and foremost, a voice service. More than anything else it helps organize and enhance the phones numbers and services you already use.
Google Voice gives you a single number that people can call. That number, in turn, can ring any number of different phone numbers. Then, if you do not pick up, Google Voice gives you one inbox for voicemail (and sms). In addition, Google Voice offers free voicemail transcription. While it does not strike me as being nearly as accurate as SpinVox, it is free and, perhaps more importantly, the voice mails are fully searchable!
The degree of control Google Voice provides is excellent. All your SMS and voicemail come into Google Voice. From there you can selectively filter in any number of ways and then acrchive it for later access by date or search. It certainly beats having to remember to check your home, cell and office machine!
Calls and text messages can be sent through GV and the service will connect any of your numbers for you. At first using GV to initiate calls this way felt off but I am quickly becoming comfortable with it and am liking the system more and more.
One neat feature is the ability of Google Voice to auto-filter calls for me and ring only certain phones at specific times. For example, I can set GV up so that a call from my assistant will only ring through to my cell phone and not to any of my other phones. You can also set only certain phones to ring only at certain times.
So Why The Move To Google Voice?
There are a few reasons.
First- Too Many Numbers
I have a home phone, a SkypeOut number, a cell phone and a work phone. In addition I am starting to use TruPhone or another VOiP service on my iPhone for those occassions where the WiFi connection is strong but the cell reception lacking. (Unfortunately that would be… MY HOME!) There are times when one number or the other is best to use. The problem then becomes… which number do I give to people?
With Google Voice I can give one number to people and then have that Google Voice number ring any number of phones. In addition, I can have all work calls directed to my cell phone, all personal calls sent to all my phones but only during certain hours and my wife’s calls sent to any phone at any hour.
In addition, when I move to the mountains for my summer vacation this year I can set it up so that when family and friends call the number at the lake rings instead of my home number. At the same time I can set it up so that work calls receive a message that I am on vacation. Same number… different messages. Life is good!
The degree of control is amazing!
Second- GV Mobile on my iPhone
The new GV Mobile app lets me extend all this functionality to my iPhone. It isn’t a VOiP app. It is a mobile GV interface that works superbly. Using the app I can change which phones ring and when, I can access all my voicemail- and I mean not just my cellphone voicemail but ALL my voicemail, and I can even send sms messages through it.
Google Voice means I’m not tied to any one number. GV Mobile means I’m not tied to my computer.
Here’s a quick video overview of the app…
The final reason I am making the move to Google voice is that it brings me to a new level of integration. My work-style has changed radically in the past year or so. I use sms all the time. I have iGoogle up on my screen most of the time so that I get all my relevant information in one glance. There have been so many changes in how I work and communicate. GV integrates my phone calls into this new system.
The iPhone app is a key part of integrating this new level of control into my calling. It is not, however, the full extent of it. The Google Voice widget now sits on my iGoogle page right next to my Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Reader.
In other words, phone calls are now part of the overall approach to my data.
In addition, you can add a Google voice widget to any webpage. People can then click-to-call you without your having to reveal your phone number to them.
I wasn’t sure about google Voice when I first started playing with it recently. I am now. If you would like to know more you can call me at…