Saturday, March 20, 2010

Switching to Google Voice

I've been using Google Voice in some form or another for several years. I was actually using it back when it was Grand Central, before Google acquired it. I never switched to using it full-time, though, instead opting to keep my existing phone number and use Voice for voicemail only. They make it pretty easy to simply forward your unanswered calls and turn Google Voice into a robust voicemail service for your existing number, and that's how I used it for the last year or so.

In order to get the most out of Google Voice, you have to switch to using your Voice number as your primary number. This is a bit of a headache, since it means letting all your friends know that you have a new number...annoying to say the least. But that's exactly what I did.
Switching to the Voice number full-time comes with a number of impressive features not available to those that simply use it as voicemail. Features like call recording, conditional forwarding, spam reporting, number portability, online voicemail/text access, voicemail transcription, etc.

So, I finally decided to switch. That meant sending out emails, texts, Facebook posts, etc. alerting everyone that my number had changed. It went smoother than I expected and I think everyone has it now.

Google Voice is has so many features that it can be hard to describe. Fortunately, Google put together an excellent YouTube channel detailing all the cool stuff Voice can do. Here's the overview video, but there are 10 other videos that explain the other features in detail. Highly recommended.

So I've been using Voice as my primary number for almost a week now and am loving it so far. I especially love getting free, unlimited text messages, as well as being able to compose and reply to texts from the Voice website.

There's a lot to love and only a couple of features still lacking (Google promises they're on the way). I would offer to send invites to anyone who wants them, but I've already given out all my Voice invites. :-) Fortunately, invites are processed pretty quickly and if you request one today, you'll likely have it in less than a week. To request an invite, head to and click the link.

If anyone has questions about how Voice works, or how to use it, feel free to ask!