I been using Google Voice for about 6 months now and really like the service. If I’m at my desk I can answer my office phone within 1 or 2 rings. If I don’t, it automatically goes to my Google Voice account, instead of the voicemail on that school phone. The voice message left by the caller is then transcribed and sent to my mobile phone as a text message, and also sent to me as an email message with the audio recording.
Most of the time I can glance at a text message for a few seconds, while it takes more time and effort to access and listen to my voicemail. Sometimes the transcription is a bit off, and even entertaining because of that.
If needed, I can listen to the recorded voice message either by logging into my Google Voice account via my iphone or a computer, or by accessing the email message that I’ve received in my gmail account. I choose to also receive an email message because it creates a note of sorts that can be easily moved to my to-do list with a click, for which I use Google Tasks, but that’s another post. Plus, any numbers dictated by the caller are saved as text for me, no grabbing a pen to make a note.
When you register for a free Google Voice account you are given a phone number that is associated with you, not a particular device. You can choose to associated other phone numbers with this account. Using the Settings you make the rules as to how Google Voice handles your incoming calls from any of your associated numbers. There is no software to install. Google Voice is currently available by invite only. You can request an invite.
If you are reading this at my blog site, you can see the big Talk button in the sidebar. Visitors to my blog can easily send me a message by clicking this button and entering their phone number. Their phone will then ring. When they answer their phone they will hear it ringing my Google Voice account. So without publicizing any phone numbers, I can be contacted. I could see teachers sharing their Google Voice number with their students and their parents. This would allow students and parents to contact the teacher outside of the classroom without the teacher having to share any personal numbers.
I love the free transcriptions of voice to text and that no matter where I am, I am notified and can access messages left via my office phone number. I recently associated my iphone number with the account, so all mobile phone voicemails appear in my Google Voice account as well. I now access all of my voicemails from any of my phones at Google Voice.
There are many more features such as recording calls, sending text message replies, screening callers, conference calls, etc. Below is a Youtube video explaining Google Voice. You can find a set of video tutorials at the Youtube Google Voice Channel: