Google Voice got its start as a phone service called GrandCentral, which the search giant bought in 2007
- Powerful suite of communications tools, free, you won't need to install software to get started
- Uses a US number, invite only, configuration options can be confusing at times
Google Voice has so many features that we've barely scratched the surface of what it can do. Is it worth trying? Absolutely. Since it's free, you've got nothing to lose by giving it a whirl.
Chances are you've heard or read about Google's phone management system Google Voice, but you're not really sure what it does. Google Voice is a free web-based application that lets you control all your various phone numbers — work, home, mobile, you name it — from a single, central phone number.
There's a good reason for the aura of mystery. Google Voice got its start as a phone service called GrandCentral, which the search giant bought in 2007. It's been in beta ever since — but unlike other Google betas that are open to the general public, this one was limited to former GrandCentral users and a select group of industry elite.
But now Google is opening up the service to a limited number of new users, many of whom we're sure will be as impressed as we are with Google Voice's power and elegance. Even better, Google Voice is free — at least for now. It's likely that Google will need to monetise the service at some point, either via subscription fees, advertising, or some sort of newfangled revenue scheme. But for the lucky few using the service today, there's no charge.
Google Voice: the basics
Google Voice provides a single phone number, such as 415-555-1212, for all your mobile, home, and work numbers, and lets you manage your voice services online. Unlike a landline service, a Google Voice number isn't tied to a geographical location.
Unlike a mobile phone service, it's not linked to a specific handset. And unlike a VoIP line, it's not matched with an IP address.
Rather, it's tied to you. So if you move, change jobs, or switch wireless carriers, your Google Voice number stays with you. One drawback: you can't port your current number to Google Voice, although that option may be added in the near future, the company says.
This isn't a Skype-type service either. You don't use your computer to make phone calls, and there's no additional software or hardware to install or buy. (You can, however, use the Click2Call feature from the Google Voice website to place calls.)
Google Voice: Is it perfect?
No, it's got a few quirks, and the myriad of configuration options can be confusing at times. But Google's on to something big here. A service that helps manage the multiple phone lines in our lives should have universal appeal.
Google Voice provides a powerful suite of communications tools, including the ability to:
- Forward calls from your Google Voice number to one or more phones, or directly to voicemail. Based on who's calling, you can select which of your phones will ring.
- Receive text (SMS) alerts when you get a call.
- Transcribe voicemails, which Google Voice will send as email and/or text messages to your cell phone.
- Listen to voicemail messages as they're being recorded-a great throwback to the home answering machine.
- Screen callers by asking for and recording their names.
- Block annoying callers by playing a number-not-in-service recording when they call.
- Vary personalised greetings by caller.
- Record phone conversations and listen to them in your Google Voice inbox.
- Switch phones during a call.
- Use the free GOOG 411 service to say the name and location of a business, and have your call connected for free.
- Phone local numbers for free.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Panasonic Lumix G9 review: A mirrorless moulded to the needs of still-shooters
- 2 LG 65E7T Ultra HD OLED TV review: The South Korean thoroughbred is still first past the post
- 3 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- Sonos say Aussie Alexa support for One smart speaker won't arrive until Autumn 2018
- Transport for NSW boosts digital experience with Amazon Alexa
- Irdeto Acquires Denuvo
- Amazon Alexa and Echo set for Febuary launch
- Officeworks hops on voice interface bandwagon with Google Assistant integration
PCW Evaluation Team
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
- Is My Smart Speaker Always Listening?
- Sony a7R Mk III review: Full, in-depth review
- Oppo A73 review: The budget smartphone that sets the bar for 2018
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTOracle Fusion Middleware AdministratorOther
- CC.Net Integration Lead DeveloperNSW
- FTSupport Analyst - Level 1-2Other
- FTTechnical BA/Scrum MasterOther
- FTSenior Network Engineer - JuniperWA
- FTSQL Developer / Data AnalystOther
- FTDigital Technical LeadQLD
- FTDevOps EngineerOther
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectVIC
- CCSenior Network Engineer - TelcoVIC
- CCSenior Procurement ManagerNSW
- CCSenior Test Analyst - Service NowQLD
- CCLevel 1 / 2 Desktop Support - BrisbaneNSW
- FTManager - Technical OperationsQLD
- TPICT Sourcing Specialist - TMR - Long Term ContractQLD
- CCCC&B Consultant - Energy and Gas DomainVIC
- FTBusiness Process BAOther
- CCService Design LeadVIC
- TPJIRA Administration & Help Desk LeadVIC
- FTReceptionist/ Front Desk CoordinatorOther
- FTMid-Level Drupal Developer (Brisbane Location)SA
- PTTest Engineer - Insurance domainQLD
- CCSCCM Application PackagerQLD
- FTSenior System Engineer - Wintel & MacVIC