The wait is finally over. At precisely 6:37 PST yesterday, I received my official invite to join Google Voice.
I first signed up for this service about 7 months ago. I have spent most of the this morning setting it up and running it through its paces.
If you are a Google fan (like yours truly), the setup procedure will be nothing new to you. It is as easy to set up as Gmail or any other of the fine Google products. It took me all of about 15 minutes to learn what needs to be done to make it work.
What is Google Voice? In a nutshell, it’s a switchboard that you can hook all of your phone lines up to. When you sign up for Gvoice, the first thing you will do is pick out a phone number based on whatever zipcode or area you live in. This is nice because in my area, it is long distance for my mother (who lives about 50 miles away) to call me. If I lived in town which is about 20 miles from my house, the call would be free. So I got a phone number that is from town. Now we can call each other for free.
Speaking of calling people for free, Gvoice can connect you for free to any number in the contiguous 48 states. How cool is that? How is it done? You bring up your Gvoice page and hit the call button. It then calls your landline and connects you to the number you are calling. Sweet!
And did I mention voicemail? You can record your own greeting, access it remotely, it even transcribes voice to text and emails it to you! You can save the voicemails (as if you would save a Gmail) as well and email the audio or text to the people you care about. In my numerous testings, I found the audio to text transcriptions to be either spot on or very close.
What’s not to like about Gvoice? The only thing I can think of is I wish I could call direct from my computer (like skype) and talk to people (bypassing the need for Gvoice to call your phone to connect you). Hopefully Gvoice will develop that in the future.
Gvoice is a great new service from Google and I highly recommend you get your name on the invite list. The procedure is simple. You must first have a Google account with Gmail. Then you wander over to the Google Voice page and submit your gmail address for consideration.
And best of all – It’s Free!!