Sunday, November 1, 2009

Google Voice

I've been using Google Voice since before it was called Google Voice (originally it was called Grand Central). It's really, really useful. This summer Google Voice made the news when Apple kicked the Google Voice app out of the App Store. Describing Google Voice is a little tricky, because it really doesn't fit into a specific category.  It's not a VOIP service, and it competes only with the cell carrier's voice mail service.  Here's why Google Voice is so useful: most cell carriers haven't updated voice mail since I was using a Motorola StarTac (pictured) in the 90s.

So, here's what you can do with Google Voice if you don't have an iPhone (well, you can still use it, you just don't get an app for that):
  • Dial phone calls and optionally record them. People who live on single party states can use Google Voice to record their calls and Google Voice will even send a semi-readable transcript (more on this later).
  • Have a single number that hunts you down like a dog.
  • Sending text messages without having a cell phone. (this is actually super-duper useful)
  • Screen calls from people you don't like. You can even designate phone numbers as "phone spammers."
  • Have transcripts of voice mails sent to you.  Often, they are terrible transcripts, but it still beats actually listening to people drone on for two minutes before they bother giving you a phone number.
Typical Google Voice Transcript:
Before I would you tell Bob wanted me to shut the up and i mean he's making it sound like the culture like sleep in the last place or something. And it's only the first half of the in for the number point facebook on the board this year, but I still say their chances in the second half of better than most even wanted to get even. We'll talk to you.
Some guy named Bob is really pissed.
At least you get a phone number so you can call to find out why Bob is pissed. And you can record the call with Bob. All while texting about whatever Bob is pissed about.  You can get Google Voice at

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