Google Voice

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Contents

Introduction

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In the world we operate in today, we are highly connected. Most people have numerous phone numbers which people are contacting them with throughout the course of one day, i.e. personal cell phone, business cell phone, home phone, and business phone, to name a few. Since a person cannot be everywhere at once, this can lead to missed calls, missed text messages, and voicemails to return from any one of the different numbers. As you can see, being connected can quickly turn into a heap of messages that need to be dealt with. What if there was a simpler way which allowed you to consolidate all your numbers into one contact point, so you didn’t have to check multiple voicemail boxes each day for missed messages? Introducing Google Voice - this free service allows you to:

• Receive a new Google number

• Google Voicemail

• Forwarding calls

• Recording calls

• SMS

• International calling

• Voicemail transcription

• ListenInTM

• Custom Voicemail Greetings

• Blocking Callers

• Conference Calling

• Call Widgets

• Mobile apps



(Note that some of these features are not available if you choose to just link your existing number to Google Voice and not create a new Google Voice number. If you want more information on the difference between the two options click the link below that will connect you to the summary on Google http://www.google.com/support/voice/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=164819)


Help link for setting up Google Voice- http://www.google.com/support/voice/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=150640

History of Google Voice

Google Voice was launched on March 11, 2009. According to Wikipedia, by October 2009 a report that was mistakenly filed with the FCC indicated that Google voice had over 1.4 million users, of which 570,000 used the service seven days a week.

Google Voice was launched as a means to provide busy people with an easy way to simplify the manner in which they manage their high-tech, high-touch, highly connected world. It allows users to merge multiple phone numbers into one number, manage how messages/calls are received and responded to, screen incoming callers, and provides a cheaper alternative to international calls. Google describes this Voice as a phone forwarding service that is free except for international calls.

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Previously Google Voice was known as GrandCentral. This service was acquired by Google and on March 11, 2009 the service was reintroduced as Google Voice. The date also marked the beginning of the transition of existing GrandCentral users to Google Voice.

Google Voice is a Voice-over-IP system which means simply that the voice communication is sent over an Internet Protocol (IP) network, or the internet. According to PCWorld.com, Google used it's existing Google Talk voice chat feature and combined it with Gizmo5, a VolIP company that Google purchased last year.

Currently there are two methods in which a Google user can select to use Google Voice. One method is to receive a new Google Voice number. This option allows you to access all the features currently available. The other option is link an existing number with Google Voice. This method limits the number of features that are available to the user. The features that are available when using an existing number are as follows: Google Voicemail, International Calling, Voicemail Transcription and Mobile Apps.

Personal and Business Uses

• Receive a new Google number – By signing up for a new Google number you will now have one number for all of your phones instead of multiple phone numbers. Now, when someone calls you all of your phones will ring at the same time or you can set certain phones to ring based on the caller or the time of day. This will make it easier for people to contact you because when someone needs to get a hold of you they only have to call your one number instead of trying your cell phone and then your business or home phones.

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• Google Voicemail – When you receive voicemails, they will all be in one place and you can check them by calling your Google number, checking your Google inbox or by receiving text notifications. Missed calls are inevitable, but now, thanks to Google voicemail, it is much easier to check those voicemails in a more timely fashion. This allows you to quickly respond to all your voicemails. Being able to receive and respond to voicemails faster is a huge advantage in the business world.

• Forwarding calls – Use one number to ring up to six phones

• Recording calls – You can record calls when you are on the move so you don’t have to look for a pen and paper to scratch notes. This also eliminates the risk of losing a note before you get back to the office. Now you can just play back your conversation to get the necessary information. Whether during personal use or in business, it always seems like you can’t find a pen or paper when you need to write something down. By recording the call you won’t ever have to worry about losing vital information again. Recording calls can help your business by helping you to remember the important information during a call that will be needed at a later date.

• SMS - Send and receive messages on your mobile phones linked to Google Voice and in your inbox. You can then choose to reply on any of your mobile phones linked to Google Voice or use your inbox. Being able to send and receive text messages through your Google Voice inbox will be extremely helpful when in areas where using your cell phone may not be permitted. This will allow you to respond to texts while at your workstation without having to stop and use your phone to respond. Now all you have to do is type out your message in your inbox and it will convert the message back to SMS for the person you are talking with. Click the attached link to watch a quick video on how this works.

• International calling - Make cheap outgoing international calls. Click here to view the rates: https://www.google.com/voice/rates

• Voicemail transcription - Receive your voicemails in text format in your Gmail inbox. Sometimes voicemails can be hard to understand for numerous reasons, but now you will still be able to understand the message thanks to transcription. For all the messages that are unclear you can just have them transcribed so you can read and understand what they are saying.


• ListenInTM – Allows you to listen to voicemails being left for you before picking up the call – it’s cell phone’s answer to yesterday’s answering machine screening. Everyone screens calls, but now you don't have to wait for the person to finish leaving their message. Instead, you can listen as they leave the message and decide if you want to pick up the call to talk with them. This will eliminate wasting any time on voicemails that aren’t important.

• Custom Voicemail Greetings – You can record custom greeting based on the number calling you. Personalize greeting for business, your wife, or your children. Now it is easy to have a professional greeting for all your business contacts, while leaving a less professional but more suitable greeting for friends and family. You can personalize greetings for individual people or for entire groups.

• Blocking Callers – Easily block callers that you do not want to receive calls from. Now it is even easier to avoid the telemarketers or maybe just that annoying person that won’t leave you alone. Once a caller is blocked, if they call they will hear a message saying the number is no longer in service.

• Conference Calling – Conference call people as they call into your Google Voice number instead of using a third party service to provide a conference call number and confirmation number that participants then need to track in order to join the call. Now you can easily have conference calls with your boss, co-workers, or with family members as they call in. This eliminates putting someone on hold when everyone needs to be included in the conversation.

• Call Widgets – This is a widget that you can put on your blog or webpage. The user of the page can click the widget, enter their phone number, and Google voice will do the rest. Google Voice will connect both of you using the phone number they entered and your Google Voice number.

• Mobile apps – A Google Voice App is now available to be downloaded to your mobile phone.

Conclusion

Google Voice can be an excellent option for any person that has multiple phone lines to manage, whether they are a businessperson or a busy soccer mom. The consolidation of multiple phone lines into one place will be a great thing for many people. In addition, the flexibility of the manner in which messages are received and responded to is a vast improvement to the traditional voice mail we are use to receiving. Simplifying the manner in which we manage our incoming calls and texts through the use of Google Voice is a nice improvement to the highly connected lifestyle most people lead today.

See Also

Google Voice Homepage: https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLogin?service=grandcentral&continue=https://www.google.com/voice/&followup=https://www.google.com/voice/&ltmpl=open

References

"Google Voice." Ask.com. Web. 1 December 2010: http://www.ask.com/wiki/Google_Voice

"Google Voice." Wikipedia. Web. 1 December 2010: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Voice

Google Voice Features. Google.com. Web. 1 December 2010: http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html

Karch, Marziah. "Google Voice." About.com. Web. 1 December 2010: http://google.about.com/od/g/g/GoogleVoice_def.htm

Karch, Marziah. "Grand Central." About.com. Web. 1 December 2010: http://google.about.com/od/g/g/grandcentraldef.htm

McCracken, Harry. "Google Voice and Gmail Mix to Make U.S. Calls Free." Web. 2 December 2010: http://www.pcworld.com/article/204165/google_voice_and_gmail_mix_to_make_us_calls_free.html?tk=mod_rel