I am trying to think of the last time I dialed my voicemail inbox on my cell phone. It probably was around January 2009 when I switched from a Blackberry device to my first Android powered smartphone. For whatever reason I find dialing and navigating my voicemail system just a huge inconvenience and it really sucks the life out of me! Because of this, one of my top favorite apps of all time is Google Voice. Google Voice has to be one of the most powerful, underutilized apps on the market. It is available on Android, iOS, and Blackberry.
- Make free calls and free text messages to anyone in the US & Cananda
- Make low priced international calls
- Voicemails are automatically transcribed to text so you can read them like email
- Integrates with your phone's native address book and Google Contacts
- Set up different greetings for different callers
- Access Google Voice anywhere
- Choose a custom Google Voice phone number
Let's look at a few of these a bit closer.
Free Calls and Text messaging
Do you cringe ever month you review your cell phone bill? Sick of pay extra for features like text messaging? Ever wanted two phone lines on one phone? Maybe a business and personal line? You may want to consider Google Voice. You can choose a custom phone number that you can use for business or personal and the best part is, it cost's no money for calls or text messages within the US or Canada. Yes you have to start over with a new number but depending on your bill you can save anywhere from $50 to a couple hundred dollars a month. On a shared family plan? Get each family member on Google Voice and drop the plan to the cheapest one available!
When someone leaves a voicemail, instead of dialing and listening to the recording, Google Voice transcribes the audio to text and it will show up in your Google Voice app. From there you can read it, or click on the play button to play the voice message directly from the app. No more dialing your voicemail! You can save, delete, or leave the message their for later.
Access Google Voice Anywhere
Obviously you can access it from your phone via the application or the mobile web app. But you can also access it from your tablet. So you can be in a very important meeting using your tablet for note taking, receive a phone call, check and read the voicemail, without anyone every knowing! You can also access Google Voice through your Gmail account via the Internet. Do you Google Chrome as your primary Internet browser? Well there is a Google Voice Chrome Extension. Yes you can check your voicemail, and return the phone call, all from your desk using Google Chrome without every taking your cell phone out of your pocket.
If you're anything like me you probably already thought of 10 different scenarios where Google Voice would improve your smartphone experience. It's a huge commitment to switch without knowing if you're going to like it or not. My suggestion would be to team up with a few co-workers or friends and test it out. With those people only use Google Voice. Try testing out all the features. Make a call from your smartphone, tablet, Gmail inbox, Chrome extension. Meet that group for lunch after the two weeks and discuss the pros and cons. Ultimately you are going to have to decide if its best for you.
Click here to download the app for Android
Click here to download the app for iOS
Do you use Google Voice? If so, I'd love to hear how!