Month: August 2009
Google Voice… Formerly GrandCentral, Google has acquired another service and integrated it into their extensive suite. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a telephony service where you get a free phone number and it forwards those calls to one or more phones (cell phones, land lines, etc). You can also make international calls and manage your voicemail from a Google-like interface. What you can’t do is make calls to phone numbers from online. So what’s the point and how is this useful if you need a working phone anyway? It took me a little while to figure out, but here are my top two uses for it:
- Stalker Prevention / Stealth – So you need to give out a number to random people, but you don’t want them to know your cell phone. You can give out this Google Voice number and when they call that, it goes to your cell phone. If you want to call back, you can disguise your normal number and call them through Google Voice. If the person is pissing you off, you can block that number.
- Convenience– Away? Switching locations? You can set it to ring multiple phones with different numbers. Whichever you answer first will pick up. Sounds cool to me.
- Texting– Don’t have texting? You can text from your browser and give your friends one number so that you don;t have to text from email anymore. This no longer applies to me.
- Voicemail Replacement– I Hate Verizon voicemail with a passion. It is glitchy, the woman talks to much and it takes forever to retrieve. So I replaced it with Google Voice. Here’s how (using Verizon Wireless).
- First, set your phone to use No Answer/Busy Transfer. This pretty much forwards calls you don’t answer to another number – your Google Voice number.
- Then in Google Voice, place it in “Do not Disturb” mode so all calls go to voicemail.
- Set Google Voice to text your phone if you have a voicemail. (so you get notified when you have voicemail, because we’re not using Verizon’s anymore so your phone won’t tell you if you have anything.
And you’re done. Now, instead of listening to the annoying Verizon voicemail woman, I can get all my messages on Google Voice’s website (since I’m always on a computer) and delete them as easily as I delete an email. (You can also get it from a phone, the old school way). Pretty sweet. I use this now, so if you leave me a voicemail, it’s on my Google Account, which I check far more often that annoying ass voicemail.
And that’s the end of my geekdom. I’m sure there are more uses for Google Voice, but these are my favorite. My parents still don’t understand how it works and think it’s pointless. By the way, a happy birthday to my ma.