That’s right, using Google Voice can revolutionize how you work, how productive you are and can also save you time each day that you can devote to other things. About 2 weeks ago I jumped on the wagon and applied for an invite to Google Voice simple because it was there, everyone else seemed to be doing it and I was intrigued by the technology and the potential that it offered. After about 3 days I got my invite email and signed up, I of course did the back and forth trying to pick a number and ended up with a simple number that ends with my name, should be easy for those who have it to remember.
At first I didn’t know what features were offered or more importantly what Google Voice could do for me, so I started digging through it to find the best settings and uses for me personally. While doing this I found that the available information on this was lacking so I have decided to write up a quick post outlining the benefits, the options I find indispensable and a few “how to” bits to ease your transition into this great new product. So, here is the short and sweet of it all:
What Can This Do?
Google Voice is a very complete call handling system that does a fantastic job of routing and filtering your inbound calls and it will also allow outbound calls within the US free of charge. Filtering can be accomplished based upon groups, so you can add your family, friends, work contacts etc. Here is a quick list of the awesome things you can do with Google Voice:
- Give you one number that follows you no matter where you are.
- Filter calls, screen calls and even send certain callers straight to voicemail if you wish.
- When someone calls you on your Google Voice Number, it can ring up to 6 of your numbers (cells, landlines, SIP, Skype etc)
- Outgoing calls can be dialed using the online interface, by calling your Google Voice Number or directly from your Windows Mobile phone, Iphone etc using available applications.
- Conversations on incoming calls can be recorded by pressing 4 while in a call, should you ever need that feature
- While in a call pressing the * key will cause your other lines that are setup on your account to ring, giving you the ability to transfer the call to a different line.
- Voicemails can be transcribed and will show in your online interface and can also be sent to your email and by SMS to your phone.
- Keeps a detailed call log in the online interface that show all the who, what, where and for how long information that you need.
- Easily embed your voicemails in a website if you wish (handy for recorded testimonials etc)
- Email voicemail messages to easily share them.
Here is a breif demonstration video that google has put out.
After receiving your invitation you can set up Google Voice very quickly, in a matter of minutes (after waiting for your invite) you can have it up and running.
- apply for invite at google.com/voice
- wait 3 days to 3 weeks for your invite to show up.
- Input your general information into your Google Voice account settings page.
- Add phones that you want to use with GV, have them handy because they will ring, you will answer and input a code they provide on the site.
- Record your voicemail message if you don’t want to use the system default.
The above steps are all that you need complete in order to use the service, but there are many things you can do to make your life easier by digging a bit deeper and setting up the detailed items such as:
- Add your contact to groups like family, friends and work contacts.
- Record separate voicemail greetings for each group of contacts that you have.
- Specify what groups will ring through to what phones.
- Set time limits for what times certain groups can ring certain phones.
- Set call screening options if you wish to use that feature.
Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list of features, I recommend you look around and get familiar with the interface as there are many settings and features you can take advantage of. One of the somewhat hidden and not advertised features just happens to be this neat little click to call widget, try it out and leave me a voicemail if you want :-)