As an avid Beta tester I must admit that the excitement of receiving that new product invitation email never dulls. That is very true for the email I received earlier this week inviting me to Google Voice. The service is particularly sweet for any Android users that are already syncing their Google contacts with their phone. Google Voice can see these contacts as well and label all your incoming calls. The Google Voice interface looks very much like gmail. There has been a lot of buzz about the product and its features, so I wanted to share my findings to anyone who may care, so here it goes. [caption id="attachment_531” align="aligncenter” width="300” caption="A snapshot of a Google Voice inbox”][/caption]
First let's talk about the high-level concept. Google Voice connects all your telephones on one number (Chosen at sign-up). You give out your new Google Voice number and now you can enjoy that magic ‘Follow Me’ technology. When someone calls that number it will ring one or all of your phones, depending on the schedules you set up. (Yes! you can setup schedules for each line you add). So that's the experience on your end, but what about your callers? Well for them its pretty seamless, they call one number and get you wherever you are.
But the real charm is the voicemail features. So after 5 rings they get your voicemail. (No, its not 9 rings or 2 minutes like some people have stated, I don't know where that's coming from.) The message they leave will be transcribed by Google's servers and your sent and email and SMS notification lickety-split. Here's one of the pain points I did find to be true, the transcription is not 100%. I had a friend call me and leave the following message for my Google Voice voicemail; ” Hi Eddie, I'm leaving you a message to see how well Google will transcribe the voicemail, and I want to add some difficult words like hippopotamus and lobotomy” And according to Google Voice, this is what the caller said; “hi eddie i'm leaving you a message to see how it will little 10 10 if your voicemail and i want to have some difficult where it's like it's upon this lobotomies” Ok, so not incredibly accurate, but the redeeming factor is that this is an additional perk, and you can always fall back on the old fashion way of actually listening to you voicemail. Also I imagine the caller's tone and volume has a good deal to do with it as well.
One of the sweetest perks to Google Voice is the understanding that you have different groups of callers. Some are friends, some are colleages and some are just annoying. No worries cause Google voice will route them all differently. Maybe your friends get the old “Hey” as a voicemail so they will talk for 3 minutes before realizing its a machine, but that's not very professional. So any co-workers will get a much more boring “Hi this is X's Cell phone, please leave a message”. And lastly, any numbers that you mark as SPAM will get a short notice before being sent to a black hole.
Well that's my experience so far. I might have more findings as my use continues, but I can say at this point I am incredibly satisfied with the experience.