March 24, 2009

Google Voice - The Future of Voicemail?

Over the next couple of weeks, Google plans to unveil an all new service called Google Voice, which hopes to be your voicemail of the future and a central hub of all of your calls. The features of Google Voice are many, especially when compared to regular voicemail.

Here is a quick rundown, courtesy of Google:

Google number -- 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 US numbers for free
  • Taking calls -- Answer on any of your phones
  • Phone routing -- Phones ring based on who calls
  • Forwarding phones -- Add phones and decide which ring.
Google voicemail -- 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
Voice features -- 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 site -- View your inbox from your mobile
  • GOOG-411 -- Check directory assistance
  • Manage groups -- Set preferences by group
The features that stand out the most to me are the voicemail transcription and the central phone hub features. I have been using a free service called Youmail which provides similar functionality to what Google plans on offering (limited voicemail transcription, online voicemail management, custom greetings), but that service is clearly more limited.

This new service from Google seems quite exciting but may be a bit scary for the privacy concerned.

For more information, as well as a great review, check out Gina Trapani's post at her new blog,

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