Google VoiceGoogle Voice’s tagline is “One number to rule them all! err The way phones are supposed to work err Teach Your Phone New Tricks – Voicemail like email, call routing, voicemail transcription, and more” and that’s only the beginning!

If you don’t know what Google Voice does this will get you up to speed and if you’re not sure it’s for you this will help you decide.

When I first signed up for Google Voice I wasn’t entirely sure how I’d use it, but now that it’s been a while I want to share 4 ways I’m using Google Voice that could help you immediately.

The Use Everyone Should Use … Google VoiceMAIL

“I HATE VOICEMAIL!”

If you hate voicemail and you probably do…Sign up for Google Voicemail NOW! As a feature of Google Voice you can forward your regular cell phone calls to Google Voicemail instead of your carrier’s voicemail service.  Very quickly you’ll get transcriptions of your voicemails, control over what callers hear what message, and much more.  My single favorite feature is that each voicemail is emailed to you both with a transcription and an audio file.  I’ve always hated dialing into check voicemail and with Google Voicemail I’ll never have to do that again (though you do have that option for those times where you don’t have internet access).

This one is a no-brainer folks.  It’s better then your current voicemail, Go Get It!

Most Obvious Use

“I need a second line for work.”

I’ve always wanted to have a second cellular line for a business number but could never justify the extra cost.  Now I’m using my Google Voice number as my business line and my regular number as my personal line.  It’s great! I can manage what voicemail message people here depending on what line they dialed (no more customers hearing unprofessional outgoing messages) and I know when I need to answer a call professionally (vs. answering as the National Porn Archive and the like).

Most Comforting Use

“I lost my phone and I don’t have a landline to check messages with!”

Recently I lost my phone and I don’t have a landline.  It’s a terrible feeling in particular because I was expecting some calls.  I have a Skype account, but that only handles my outgoing calling issues (I don’t use Skype for incoming, though that is another option).  So, using Google Voicemail I was able to get e-mailed transcriptions of my incoming voicemails and call people back more efficiently then if I had to use Skype to constantly check voicemails.  I’ve always been a fan of this feature, but didn’t expect it to be so helpful when my phone was never to be seen again.

Trickiest Use

“My apartment building has a call box at the door but my roommates and I don’t have a landline… Can Google Voice help us?!”

Yessir it can!  As always when there are roomates someone will have to take charge.

  • Signup for a GV account
  • Setup each roommates phone in the account (pick a night when everyone is home to make all the coordination of confirmation codes easier).
  • Have your landlord setup the call box to call your new GV # (consider adding *82 as a prefix to make sure the call box caller ID shows up).  It’s very important that the call box caller ID be displayed.

Voila! If this is all you use GV for and you want all the roommates phones to ring when someone is at the door… then you are done!

If you want to customize who gets called when, then you’re in luck.  Part of GV’s feature set is the ability to manipulate which phones ring based on the incoming number and the time.  For example, I work from home so my phone is set to always ring when the call box is dialed, but since my roommate works a 10-4 9-5 I set his phone to only ring in the evenings on weekdays.

When we moved in we thought we’d need to get a landline (blech!) or have only one phone attached to the account (lame!), but Google Voice gave us the solution we needed.

Conclusion

I hope I’ve demonstrated a few of the ways that Google Voice might benefit you quickly and without any real change to the way you currently use your phone and e-mail.  If you’ve got your own uses for GV I’d love to hear them.



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