Google Voice

by brendan on 03/17/2009

Google Voice is here!

It was announced last week that Google Voice was coming, and that current Grand Central subscribers would be migrated automatically over the next few days. I checked my Grand Central account twice a day, every day, since that announcement, and up to yesterday I was getting a little worried. But no more! My old Grand Central account became a new Google Voice account effective this morning. Happy St. Patty’s Day to me, indeed.

So what is Google Voice?

It’s a forwarding service on steroids, basically. They give you a free phone number, in most any area code that you can think of. Then you can attach your other existing phone numbers to that new number, based on rules.

For example, if my mom calls the new number, I can have a rule set up that will forward that call to my cell, work, and home numbers. I can also set up special voicemail greetings and she’ll only hear the one meant for her. If my office calls, I can make sure that it forwards only to my cell and never my home, and maybe I have a special VM greeting for them too. And if I have a telemarketer harassing me, I can send that number straight to VM without ever going to any of my phones. Better yet, I can actually send that call to a “your call cannot be completed as dialed” error message to really throw them off.

So my callers only ever need to know my one Google Voice phone number. If I get a new cell, or I move, or I change my rules around, that doesn’t affect them at all. They just keep dialing that one number.

It also works with SMS (text messages). I can forward those to specific phones, or even just have them emailed to an email address I specify.

Sound cool, right? That’s not even the best part. It has voicemail speech-to-text transcription! This means that when you leave me a VM, Google will translate what you said into text, and email that to me. It will also save the VM itself so I can listen it like normal, but if I’m not in a position to make a phone call (like a meeting) – the email feature will really come in handy.

If you want to help me test out the service, click on the button below. It will call the phone number you give it, and then connect you directly to my voicemail (and since the rule I’ve set up sends it straight to VM, and not to my phone, you don’t have to worry about disturbing me from another time zone).

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