Ever dreamed of having your own personal switchboard operator? Google Voice, a new calling and voicemail service from the online search giant offers just that. While it’s available by invoite only, the service is already garnering a vocal and devoted following. Here’s a rundown of what you can do with Google Voice and why it’s a must-have for frequent travelers or anyone with multiple phones.
One phone number for everything.
At its core, Google Voice is a call-forwarding service. But don’t let that fool you. This is still one powerful online tool. While you can’t use any of your existing numbers for your main Google Voice number, Google will let you choose a number (in any U.S. area code) when signing up. After that, you just link it to all your other existing numbers.
High-IQ call forwarding.
Not only can you choose to forward calls to as many numbers as you like, you can even forward incoming calls to different phones based on who’s calling. Take those dreaded calls from your boss. If you’re feeling brave, you can choose to have them ring to your mobile number – not your home, where family could answer. Or you can have them sent straight to voicemail. Google Voice also lets you compile entire groups of callers to send either drectly to an online spam folder, voicemail or block altogether.
Find out who’s calling.
Everyone gets them: Strange alls from unfamiliar numbers. With Google Voice, you can have these callers stat their name before being patched through to you. If they don’t hang up, Google will tell you exactly who’s calling and give you the option to take the call or send it to voicemail.
Make free calls.
Google Voice lets you make free calls to anywhere in the United States. Best of all, these calls will appear to originate from your main Google number, even when you’re calling from your mobile phone or landline. It’s a great way to avoid divulging your personal numbers when shopping online.
Get voicemails via e-mail.
Perhaps the coolest feature in Google Voice’s arsenal is its ability to automatically transcribe all your voice messages. True, the transcription aren’t always spot on, but ti’s a great way to check messages online since that’s where many of us spend the day anyway. If that doesn’t suite you, Google Voice will also let you receive your voicemails as actual text messages or e-mails when they arrive. Not only is this faster than listening to those long-winded messages from friends, family and co-workers, but it also gives you a permanent written record that is easily stored for future reference.
Switch phones in a snap.
Worried about using up all your mobile minutes? Google Voice lets you transfer your calls to another phone with a push of a button – right in the middle of a call, if need be. When you’re on your mobile phone, simply press the “*” button, and all your other phones listed on the account will instantly ring. Simply pick one of them up and continue talking. Minutes saved!