Google’s been adding services to their list of products at a very quick rate. One of their services that has recently started gaining more momentum is their Google Voice service. With other services out there like Skype, Yahoo Instant Messenger with Voice and others, Google knows it’s a good time to build this up. How did they do it? Like they normally do. They found GrandCentral, and integrated it with their Gmail service. Here are some of the published features you get with the free service:
- A single Google forwarding number to all of the user’s phones
- Unlimited free calls and SMS (text messages) within the US and Canada, up to three hours in individual length.
- Calling international phone numbers with rates starting at US$0.02 per minute
- Call screening. Announcement of callers based on their number or by an automated identification request for blocked numbers
- Listening in on someone’s recording of a voice message before taking a call (press 2 while answering, * to “pick up”)
- Blocking calls from specified numbers
- Send, receive, and store SMS online
- Answering incoming calls on any configured phone
- Call routing. Selection of phones that should ring based on calling number
- Voicemail transcripts. Reading of voicemail messages online
- Listening to voicemail online or from a phone
- Notification of voicemail messages via email or SMS
- Personalized greetings based on calling number
- Forward or downloading of voicemails
- Conference calling (press 5 when answering call)
- Call recording and online archiving (press 4 while on a call)
- Switching of phones during a call
- Viewing the web inbox from a mobile device/phone
- Customize preferences for contacts by group
- Ability to change your number for a fee
- Specifying an existing phone number instead of the Google Voice number on initial setup for use with limited functionality, such as some voicemail functions and using the voice mail system for the user’s phone number (mobile devices only).
I think it’s a great way to give out a number that you’d like to use as a boundary between you and the outside world. For example I just used it in an online classified ad to sell a car.
Go ahead and sign up and get your free number. Play with it, and use it if you think it’s a good fit for you. After all, it’s Google, so it can only get better with time, right? 🙂