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Google Voice

© July 2009 Anthony Lawrence

I got my Google Voice number today. It's (774) 213-1199 and you can feel free to use that to reach me. I have that connected to both my home and cell phone numbers so that no matter where I am, one number will find me.

Aside from the other features, I want this because cell phone reception at my house is lousy. With this, both phones ring and I can pick up the home phone. If I'm out for the day, I can just disable the home phone and not bother my wife with business calls.

Of course I have this set not to ring through after business hours. I wish there were more flexibility in that area: for example, I'd like to be able to say "Always let my wife's cell phone ring through", but that's not possible (at least for now).

I've blocked SMS because, well, because I don't like SMS. It's my business and my life and I don't want any SMS, thanks anyway.

This is going to be very helpful. It would have been even more helpful ten years ago when I basically lived on the telephone, but I am glad to have it now.

Being able to listen to (and save!) voicemail on my computer will also be helpful. Being able to place free calls to US telephone numbers is a nice bonus - we have a "free" calling plan now, but this might let us drop that plan and just get the cheapest plan offered. It's simple to use: you tell Google (through your computer) that you want to call a number. They call you at one of your real numbers and then connect you to the number you want.

The call screening is also useful. When someone calls, you get told who is calling and can accept the call, send them right to voicemail, listen to the voicemail as they leave it, or take the call but also record it.

If you are on the phone when a new call comes in, you also have the option to conference that call in - that's great!

This can be confusing to people who haven't heard about this. I gave the number to my wife and told her to put it in her cell phone so that she could always reach me. "Silly, I already can do that!", she said.

"Yeah, but if you try the home number and I don't answer, you have to hang up and try the cell. But even then, I might have been home but just busy or on another call. This way you can ALWAYS reach me with one call - or leave a message if I don't answer."

"But what if I'm at home?", she asked.

"You can still use that number - it doesn't matter."

"But that's silly if I know you aren't home."

Woman's logic. She's right, of course, but right then she hadn't yet seen the Big Picture. I think she sees it now. This will save her time (one number to call) and annoyance. I'm going to strongly suggest she get her own Google Voice number so that she can enjoy the same convenience.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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Thu Jul 16 14:35:36 2009: 6634   TonyLawrence

The other thing I just realized: when I'm really tied up and don't want calls, I can easily send this straight to voicemail.


Thu Jul 16 16:44:57 2009: 6635   TonyLawrence

Yet another thing I like is that I have an automatic record of the length of calls.

Thu Jul 16 18:36:33 2009: 6636   TonyLawrence

I like that Google is actually allowing feature requests.

I asked for a way to set up a menu where I could (for example) use a number for my wife and myself. A menu would answer asking you to press 1 for me, 2 for her and 3 for either of us - and would then ring the appropriate phones based on your choice.

Mon Jul 20 15:12:22 2009: 6653   stewie

I've been using Grand Central, er, Google Voice & it's a great service. One issue I've had is missing calls & not knowing someone left a message. It's very helpful to glance at your device & see a message waiting indicator. I've had to turn on the SMS notification feature so at least I know I have a message waiting. Like you said, it's not perfect but impressive nonetheless.

Thu Jul 23 17:10:22 2009: 6676   TonyLawrence

I had some trouble this morning.

Someone tried calling me from Skype, could not. He then tried his cell phone, that was an impossibly bad connection. Then his home phone, which didn't go through the first time but did the second. Ten minutes in, line went dead at both ends.

Soon after, someone else called, line went dead fourteen minutes in.

Wed Aug 19 18:00:13 2009: 6772   TonyLawrence

Today I had a 90 minute call from a Boston customer. Not recorded, no conference, he just called me on my GV number. No problems with the call, but it never showed up in my GV Hisory or in Received.

Annoying if you wanted a record to prove the time to bill for.


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