I Want Google Voice and So Should You
I have a problem; ever since I started freelancing my phone bill has exploded. When I was working I didn't use it all that much during the day; having a day job an all. Now that my days are open, and I have to do the majority of my client interactions on my phone, I've had to deal with HUGE bills ($700) for both text messaging and minute overages.
To the credit of AT&T they credited my account and I wasn't out any cash. But don't forget the fact that the phone companies are essentially gouging customers with their rates on text messaging; the $20 a month for unlimited text messages is just a drop in the bucket compared to that.
BTW, there's no such thing as unlimited text messages. Check the terms of service for your provider; a lot of them actually limit the total amount and you'll face a ginormous bill if you go over.
It's pretty infuriating. Thankfully, once again, Google has come to the rescue with Google Voice. Google Voice is a service that gives you one number for all your phones, voicemail that is easy as email, and many enhanced calling features like call blocking and screening, voicemail transcripts, call conferencing, international calls, and more.
According to the official page for Google Voice includes a crapload of features:
One number for all your calls and SMS
- Call screening - Announce and screen callers
- Listen in - Listen before taking a call
- Block calls - Keep unwanted callers at bay
- SMS - Send, receive, and store SMS
- Place calls - Call free within the continental US and to Canada
- Taking calls - Answer on any of your phones
- Phone routing - Phones ring based on who calls
- Forwarding phones - Add phones and decide which ring
Voicemail as easy as email, with transcripts
- Voicemail transcripts - Read what your voicemail says
- Listen to voicemail - Check online or from your phone
- Notifications - Receive voicemails via email or SMS
- Personalize greeting - Vary greetings by caller
- Share voicemail - Forward or download voicemails
More cool things you can do with Google Voice
- Conference calling - Join people into a single call
- Call record - Record calls and store them online
- Call switch - Switch phones during a call
- Mobile apps - Try our apps for Blackberry and Android phones
- Mobile site - View your inbox from your mobile
- GOOG-411 - Check directory assistance
- Manage groups - Set preferences by group
All of that's pretty compelling; but it's not the most important piece. Nope, the best part is that Google Voice operates on your phones data plan so, if I ever get invited to the service, I'm planning on lowering my minute plan, killing unlimited text messaging and saving around $100 a month.
The key is that I use a Blackberry; there's already a Blackberry app that allows for the system to flow. Oddly, if you use an iPhone you're out of luck; Apple pretty much screwed the pooch on that. But, not to fear, you can even access Google Voice through a web browser.
I can't wait to say, "Fuck you" to AT&T. Just got to get that invite first...