Recently, Google announced that they were opening up Google Voice to the public. Previously, it was only available by invitation, so it’s awesome that anyone in the U.S. is now free to sign up for an account. If you’re not familiar with what Google Voice is and how it can spice up communication with some awesome features, take a minute to check out an overview.
When you sign up for Google Voice, you will select your own Google Voice number. (You can set up Google Voice with an existing phone number, but you won’t be able to take advantage of every feature. I highly recommend choosing a new Google Voice number.) Once you get set up, you can start customizing your account with some cool features:
- One number for multiple phones: When callers use that number, you can choose to have it ring your home phone, cell phone, work phone, or all (or none) of the above. You can even choose when this happens. Let’s say you want your Google Voice number to ring your cell phone, but only during the week. Go for it. Maybe you only want your home phone to ring on the weekends and only for friends and family. You can set that up, too. Are you on vacation and want callers to be sent directly to voicemail? It’s your choice.
- Customized greetings: Set up different greetings for different types of callers. For instance, you may want to have one greeting for friends or family members, but you would like a different message for professional communication. You can have that with Google Voice.
- Voicemail transcriptions: Instead of calling into your voicemail to listen to a message, Google Voice will send a text-based transcript of the message. You can even choose to have them forwarded to an email address, so you can read them or listen to the audio right from your inbox. (Text messages can be forwarded to your email, too.)
- Phone switching: Are you on your office phone but need to head out for a meeting while continuing the call from your cell? You don’t have to hang up and call from your cell. Google Voice lets you continue the call from a different phone, without missing a beat.
How does this sound? If you’re intrigued, you might want to check out some of the other features available. Yes, there’s more. Google has a nifty set of super short videos that tell you all about it.