Google Voice is now open to anyone with a U.S. phone number. The free service was previously offered as an open viral beta. While the service isn’t perfect, it’s an indispensable tool that makes my mobile lifestyle much easier.
If you don’t already have a Google Voice number I highly recommend heading over to Google.com/voice. The service makes it much easier for people to get ahold of me and it makes it much easier for me to respond.
A lot of people tell me that they don’t need Google Voice, but I think it’s something that everyone should try. Google’s marketing of the service, as seen in the above video, is understated. Google Voice saves me a ton of time and make life a little easier.
I wrote a full review of Google Voice over at Notebooks.com a while back. Here are a few of the things I’ve done with Google Voice:
- I forgot both my iPhone 3GS AND BlackBerry Pearl on a recent trip to a friend’s wedding. I didn’t realize I’d left my jacket (with my phones) at home until we were a good 50 miles from home. Rather than turning around, I asked my wife if I could borrow her iPhone 3G for the next three days. She agreed and said she’d be fine without her iPhone since she had her BlackBerry from work. I adjusted my Google Voice settings when we got to the hotel and was able to use her phone as my own.
- I fly Virgin America whenever possible because the airline offers GoGo in-flight Wi-Fi and a bunch of gadgetry on all flights. With Google Voice, I can listen to my voice mail and respond to requests at 30,000 feet. When my flights are about 30 minutes out I send a text message to whomever’s picking me up at the airport to confirm we’re all set.
- PR folks are generally helpful, but there are a few bad apples out there that call way more often than necessary. Before I had Google Voice I’d have to screen their calls via Caller ID. Google Voice allows me to send them directly to voice mail without ringing my phones, transcribes their message and sends it to me as both an SMS and email. I still get to hear their pitch at my leisure, but without having to sink 15 minutes or more of my time into small talk.
- I really enjoy having the ability to forward messages in their entirety in email messages instead of having to play ‘telephone’ with my friends and family.
- Google Voice has really eased my frustration with AT&T. I no longer miss calls at home when AT&T is missing in action since calls ring through to all three of my lines.
Everyone’s needs are different of course, but I can guarantee you that you’ll be able to find at least a handful of things you like about Google Voice. Some people have told me that they don’t want to start using Google Voice because of the hassle of giving people their new number and getting rid of their old one. I was worried about this as well, but it’s been a pretty painless process. Google provides instructions on how to forward voicemail from your carrier to Google Voice. You can also simply leave a message on your old phone’s voice mail letting callers know that you no longer check messages and to call your Google Voice number if they’d like to reach you or leave a message.