My love affair with Google Voice began in 2005 when I became an early adopter of GrandCentral, the predecessor to Google Voice. Google acquired GrandCentral in 2007 and then launched Google Voice in 2009. Google Voice gives you one number for all your phones, voicemail, SMS, and much more. I’d like to share 10 reasons why iLove Google Voice.
1. Local/Vanity Phone Number
When you sign-up for Google Voice you must choose a phone number that will become your Google Voice number. You have the ability to select a number based on area code, city, or zip code. You can also select a number using a word, phrase, or number. The possibilities are endless!
2. Multiple Options for Forwarding
The way Google Voice works is that when a person calls your Google Voice phone number it forwards the call to as many phone numbers as you wish, e.g. when some calls my Google Voice number it rings my cell phone, home phone, and work phone. I am almost guaranteed to not miss a call. Another great forwarding feature is that I can customize the day and time my other phones will ring, e.g. I’ve configured Google Voice not to ring my house phone during work hours because I don’t won’t to bother my wife at home when I’m not there.
3. Transcribed Voicemail
For this reason alone iLove Google Voice. If someone calls my Google Voice number and I am unable, or don’t won’t to pick up the phone, the voicemail message that the person leaves will be transcribed and sent to my email address. I love this feature when I’m in a meeting and can’t pick up the phone. I can read the person’s voicemail to determine the importance of the message. Google Voice also let’s you set up your own cell phone number to use Google Voice’s voicemail service.
4. Personalized Voicemail
Google Voice also let’s you set up personalized voicemail messages based on groups or individuals. You can create groups for work and personal and have separate messages for each group.
5. Unlimited SMS Messages
Along with the calling features you receive with your Google Voice number you’ll also be able to send and receive unlimited SMS messages using your Google Voice number. Another great feature is that these message are stored online so you can text from your web browser.
6. Call Screening
This feature annouces callers and even let’s you configure Google Voice to have people say their name before they are connected to you.
7. Listen In
Remember the days of letting your answering machine answer your phone and listening to the caller as they left their message – I’m please to tell you that those days are back! This feature lets you listen in as a person is leaving their message and even gives you the ability to interrupt their message and take the call. I love this feature but have freaked out a few people when jumping into a call.
8. Online Interface
Google Voice has a wonderfully robust online interface that allows you to see text messages, placed calls, missed calls, received calls, and voicemail’s. I find having an online record of your phone activity a huge time saver when managing calls, voicemail, and SMS.
9. Mobile App
Google has created a very robust and free App for Android and there are two Apps in the App Store created by third parties in order to use Google Voice with your iPhone. The two Apps are called GV Mobile + and GV Connect. I’ve used the Apps for iPhone and both are equally good. I must admit that I’m hoping Google will release an official Google Voice App for iPhone.
As you are probably aware from reading about other things that iLove, iLove free. Google Voice is a part of your Google account that I hope you already created after reading HOWTO: Monitor Your Brand In 10 Minutes A Day. As a result, Google Voice is free!
I know Google Voice sounds to good to be true but let me assure you that Google Voice is all this and more. There a number of other great features that are a part of Google Voice and I hope you will sign-up for an account today. If you are already using Google Voice I would love to hear examples of how you are using this awesome tool by sharing in the comments below.