Googley Voice – 9.5/10

It’s pretty cool, actually.

Google Voice Info

For me, remaining Stateside, it’s been a breeze to set up and configure, using both my browser and my personal cell phone.

Some of the perks:

  • Permanent forwarding phone number for as long as Google Voice exists… (chances are good that you’re reading this via Facebook and can get my number there, or I’ve already given it to you)
  • Can ring multiple phones according to a schedule I set. This is important later.
  • Free SMS/texting from Google Voice to any phone, can receive and store free texts. So, now that David has an account, I can text him with my thoughts of the day and get a response whenever he logs in.
  • Voicemail transcripts texted and/or emailed to your phone (depending on your settings)… though if you’re not careful, saying “Google Voice Account” can become “Good Boy Scout” in the transcript! 😀 Voicemails can also be forwarded or downloaded. Transcripts also have a “thumbs up/down” rating system, which helps train the transcribing program.
  • Free US calling, cheap international calling.
  • Routing phone calls based on who’s calling and which phone you want to have ring… so I don’t *HAVE* to be notified when an ex or the dentist calls!
  • Screen or block calls based on caller, and change the voicemail greeting for whomever it is… so David gets his own greeting if he ever bothers to use this number. I’m still recording others for my friends and family.
  • Conference calling, recording, and phone switching… so if one phone’s battery starts to die I can switch to another without losing the call.
  • All the additional perks of Google contacts, email, etc… linked to your Voice account. Think calendars and conversations. Win.

All in all, it’s been a fantastic service and I need to make more people use my Google phone number rather than my established personal phone number.

I had to wait a month or two on the waiting list to get my account, but they’re moving rapidly through the list and giving priority to anyone with a .mil email address. Which brings me to my next point…

Google Voice for Service Members

As I said above, gVoice requires a physical phone to forward calls. Here’s the catch for my poor deployed David … he disabled his T-Mobile account for the duration, although he did get reception in Kuwait before his account expired. So he’s without a physical phone/number right now, and gVoice won’t let you complete the setup process until you’ve entered a phone number that it can call to confirm the account. >.<

I was able to game the system by using my Crackberry to activate his account. I then tried to remove the Crackberry from his account but was told that I had to have at least one actual phone on the account – and to add an alternate phone requires the call-to-confirm step. So I can't untether the Crackberry from the account until gVoice lifts that requirement or David adds another phone-that-works.

Fortunately, I can tell gVoice never to call the Crackberry on "weekends or weekdays" and can place a "do not disturb" on that phone from David's account. So it's not a dealbreaker, but I imagine that several military users are facing greater challenges with the requirement. If Google responds to my tech support email on this topic, I'll post any helpful info they give me here.

In short, I give it a 9.5/10 for my personal account (the transcripts and mobile interface need some work, and I'm sure they can find a way to work around the smartphone app blocks through a better mobile page) and an 8/10 for David's account, 'cause of the deployed military setup issues.

Go forth, enjoy. And let me know your account number, if you get one.

~ by jackelopette on August 9, 2009.

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