Monday, August 31, 2009

Google Voice

Cool new service--by invitation only--from Google. It was first put into service on March 11, 2009. Wikipedia summarizes most of the services nicely:
The service provisions a U.S. phone number, chosen by the user from available numbers in selected area codes, free of charge to each user account. Inbound calls to this number are forwarded to other phone numbers of the subscriber. Outbound calls may be placed to domestic and international destinations from any of a user's configured telephones, or from a web-based application. Inbound and domestic outbound calls are free of charge, while international calls are billed according to a schedule posted on the Google Voice website.
Other services include:
  • A single Google number for all user's phones.
  • Free calls and SMS in the contiguous US and Canada.
  • Calling International phone numbers for as low as 0.01 USD per minute.
  • Call screening. Announce callers based on their number or by an automated identification request for blocked numbers.
  • Listen in on someone recording a voicemail before taking a call.
  • Block calls.
  • Send, receive, and store SMS online.
  • Answer an incoming call on any of your phones.
  • Phone routing. Choose which phones should ring based on who calls.
  • Forwarding phones.
  • Voicemail transcripts. Read voicemails online.
  • Listen to voicemail online or from a phone.
  • Receive notifications of voicemails via email or SMS.
  • Personalized greeting that vary greetings by caller.
  • The ability to forward or download voicemails.
  • Conference calling.
  • Record calls and store them online.
  • Switch phones during a call.
  • View the web inbox from a mobile device/phone.
  • Set preferences for contacts by group.
  • Ability to change your number for a fee.
Tthe Google Voice page includes a number of approximately 1-minute-long videos--like the one below--that explain the primary features of the service:

I don't know why I never paid attention to it till this afternoon. But I thought I'd pass it along.

You can sign up for an invitation by clicking on the link in the light-yellow bar at the top of the Google Voice page.
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