Google Voice is no longer in beta mode! This means that now, anyone can get Google Voice today and signing up just got a whole lot easier. Previously, you had to register for Google Voice and wait to be accepted for days or even weeks! Not anymore. All you need is a computer with internet access, a free Gmail account, and of course, basic phone service.
Google Voice is a terrific tool and even better it’s absolutely free. This gadget lets you talk for free long distance to anyone in the continental US using only your PC and basic phone service. I have it, I use it and I no longer need to pay for long distance because I can call everyone for free!
If this isn’t cool enough Google Voice does more. You can set it up as your primary phone number and then when you get a call, you can have all of your phones ring or any of them you wish to designate. For example, if I am expecting an important call from a potential employer, I can set my Google Voice up so that my home phone rings, my mobile rings and so does my office. I don’t miss any more calls now that I have Google Voice – that is – unless I want to miss them. I could have my mother-in-law’s messages go straight to voice mail and I can have Google Voice store them and later on play my messages on my computer. I can also have it transcribe my messages through the magic of technology.
Google Voice uses voice recognition to transcribe your messages so you don’t even have to write them down. Then just hit print. No more looking for a pen, no more having to listen several times to catch the number. This is really handy for directions and phone numbers you need and when people talk fast. It works amazingly well, though not perfect.
The best use I have found for Google Voice is when I need to make a call at work or anyplace where there is a computer but I want to make sure that my call doesn’t appear on the bill. I can go to the computer to Google Voice and ring my family out of state using Google Voice and then talk to them on any phone for free. This is really great at work. Employers are becoming increasingly interested in spying on their employees. They call this monitoring our internet usage and our phone calls. With Google Voice, I feel like I have more control over my calls and more privacy because I don’t need to use my company’s long distance service. When I need to make a call on their phones I can do it all through Google Voice.
Calls are just like any others once you are connected. There are no problems with sound quality because you are only using Google Voice to place or route the call and you are not actually talking through the computer. I signed up for Google Voice about 6 months ago using my free Gmail account and when I was eventually approved I was amazed at how easy it was. I even got an account for my 80 year old Mom. She did great with just a a little practice. She was a little confused at first because when you dial out to talk to someone, Google Voice rings your phone line and the line of the party you are calling. You don’t even pick up your telephone until it rings you. But she quickly got the hang of and it should be noted that on a 1 to 10 scale with 10 being the highest level of computer competence my Mom’s ability to use any technology is about a two. I believe that if she can do this anyone can.
As a long term Google Voice user, I doubt that this technology will ever fully replace all home long distance service. First of all, it is not as quick as calling using regular phone service because you have to go to the computer instead of just the phone and make a few clicks. Depending on your internet and PC speed this takes a few minutes or seconds. Also, when you consider that unlimited long distance is bundled in packages with internet and cable by nearly all cable and satellite service providers, long distance service providers should not suffer too badly as a result of Google Voice’s increased availability.
On the other hand,Google Voice is free and free is good. If you are on a tight budget you truly do not need to purchase long distance service anymore if you have the internet. I love my Google Voice and I am still finding new reasons to use it. The biggest incentive, it’s fun!