Google Voice – It’s more like a personal PBX system

I have phones forwarding all over the place, from the 800 number to the land line to my cell phone. My little system does the job. The only complaint I had was handling voicemail. They would forward to my email, but I could not listen to a .wav file on my cellphone (I use the archaic Razr). My answer was to get an iPhone or wait around for a good Android phone. Well, I don’t have to do that today b/c Google Voice just made my life easier.

Google Voice (formerly Grand Central) will transcribe my voicemail for free. Also, they’re using the Gmail skeleton as the user interface, which makes it familiar and easy to use.

Now I can access my email, on my cellphone and read the voicemail. Of course, if it transcribes the data incorrectly, I would have to listen to it. I can also see the phone number, so I can call the person back too.

Grand Central, initially, was a service that allows users to get a free phone number and then create rules to direct traffic to your other phones. For example, mom’s calls get routed to your cell phone, while Bob in accounting gets sent to your voicemail. On a personal level, I can see this working, but since I’m using Google Voice to supplement my business voicemail, it probably will not work for me.

For a full list of features, check out Google Voice’s features page. They have other cool features like call screening, block numbers and you can have people “click to call” you from your website. One of my personal favorites is that I can listen in on a voice mail while the caller is leaving it. You even have the option to get on the call. It’s pretty shady, but nice.

If you can think of any other useful ways to use Google Voice, let me know.

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