We'll see | Matt Zimmerman

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Google Voice

I’ve been experimenting with Google Voice while traveling in the US. I would have tried it sooner, but it isn’t very UK-friendly at present.

The good:

  • Free SMS to US mobiles from the browser
  • Convenient browsing and searching of received/placed calls, SMS and voicemail
  • Initiation of phone calls from the browser
  • Unified contacts database with my Android phone (and GMail, though I don’t use it)
  • Simple call routing, so I can use a fixed number when I’m in the US even though I usually pick up new a prepaid SIM on each trip
  • Ability to choose a phone number through searching, to find one which is easy to remember
  • Speech-to-text of voicemails (maybe just good enough to be useful)

The bad or missing:

  • Requires a data connection on Android (problematic e.g. when roaming or using a prepaid/pay-as-you-go SIM), though it falls back gracefully to non-Google-Voice service
  • Calls outside the US cost money (Vonage and other VOIP providers offer this for free)
  • Calls can apparently only be placed between POTS lines (no softphone functionality)
  • Yet another place to set my time zone.  Being able to selectively block calls while I’m asleep abroad would be the killer feature for me
  • Caller ID doesn’t seem fully integrated in Android: it sometimes looks like I’m on a call with myself

The boring:

  • Free calls within the US: people still pay for this?
  • Voicemail: people still leave voicemail?

The “ah” moment came when someone gave me a phone number on IRC, and I copy/pasted it into my browser to call them.


Written by Matt Zimmerman

September 5, 2009 at 20:26

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

6 Responses

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  1. My favorite part is the the transcribed voice mails.

    Unfortunately Google Voice just quit working for me so I had to quit using it. (It takes voice mails but they don’t show up anywhere and there’s no support to email or call …)


    September 5, 2009 at 22:23

  2. […] original here:  Google Voice « We'll see | Matt Zimmerman Categories: Google Tags: adsense, browser, google news, language, personal, planet-ubuntu, […]

  3. Google Voice is not a VOIP service, that seems to be the main confusion here. You actually don’t even get free calls in the US since you are still using minutes on your phone to call the Google Voice service.


    September 6, 2009 at 20:01

  4. I’ve found that goggle voice works great for my needs.

    My favorite feature is that I can have it call multiple calls at the same time, and based on a schedule like Vonage’s Simul-ring on steroids. When I’m at work, I have it call my desk phone, cell phone, and laptop. When I’m at home, I have it call my cell phone and house phone.

    Best part is, unlike Vonage’s Simul-ring, when a cell phone dies, it doesn’t send all the calls strait to that cell phones voice mail. The announce call feature requires you to dial 1, which my voicemails don’t. Works Great!

    Not to mention the transcription.


    September 8, 2009 at 09:18

  5. I use both Google Voice (just playing with it) and Skype. I actually pay for the unlimited plan and for a Skype phone number, so I can use Skype like a home phone that travels with me wherever I take my laptop.

    It’s funny because Skype seems to have started as VOIP and is now moving to POTS lines more and more, while Google Voice is starting out with POTS lines. I can only hope that Google will move Voice in the direction of Skype (with VOIP).

    Combining Google Voice’s current functionality with Skype’s would be so incredibly awesome.

    Ross Peoples

    September 11, 2009 at 21:28

  6. “I don’t know. Call together the stuff we don’t have to pick them up on this. Davis this way to pay you on what’s going on. Hello. Yes.”

    — Voicemail transcription


    September 11, 2009 at 23:13

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