I have been using Google Voice for about the past three months, and even though the tool seems to still need some work, I have to say that I like it a lot. There are a number of reasons to like Google Voice (GV), such as the single number that I can give out to ring all my numbers. It integrates well with the nexus one phone, and can be used to avoid long distance charges. The quality of the service is very good. In a couple of instances, it was better than what I normally get from my provider.
However, the feature I like the most is the transcription capability. I use Google Voice as my cell phone voicemail and I forward all of my incoming calls to GV after two rings. When the caller leaves me a voice message, it is transcribed into a text message and forwarded on to my gmail account. However, if you are looking for perfectly smooth conversion of voice to text, GV is not quite there yet. There are pauses and ‘sketchy’ transcriptions, yet it is great for taking notes or writing short articles such as this one. I originally dictated this article to GV and cleaned up the transcription to what you are reading here. Here is an excerpt from the original transcription, as you can see there needs to be a lot of work…
[“However, the feature like the most as the transcription capability. I use google voice as my cellphone voicemail at 4. All of my incoming calls. Did TV after 2 rings. Gimme a call and leave me a voicemail message. It is transcribed into a text message and 4 to my gmail account. However, if you were looking for a proper police move the person of voice to text, TV's, not quite there yet.”]
I use this as my personal notes transcription service : When I call my GV # from my cell, it goes directly to voicemail. I record my message — a to-do item, a blog post, a reply to an email — and, when I’m back at my computer, I cut-and-paste the transcript into the appropriate to do list/blog/email and do some minor editing.
One individual I talked with about their experience with GV uses it in conjunction with Fring (which was bought by Google) and his iPhone so whenever he is on wireless network all his calls are free.
A young lady I talked with used GV to help her with her job search. She used google voice recently when wanted to relocate to another city, and wanted to nail down a position before moving. She set up a GV account with a local number for the target city so she could put a local phone number on her resume rather than an out of state cell phone number. It was a simple to use the system and overall she was pleased with it. She did find that the call forwarding does result in a strange pause when you answer and also found the transcription can be a little off, but otherwise it was helpful for her limited needs.
Aside from the aforementioned, GV has a lot of nice features and functionality beyond what I have mentioned here, such as: the ability to go SMS to email and email to SMS cutting down on SMS costs. Another feature is the ability to forward to multiple phones If I am at my desk, my GV number goes to my desk VoIP phone, out in the jungle it goes to my cell. It also has unified contact with GMail along with a history of texts ad calls online via the browser. The best may be the blocking of unwanted calls and call screening, no more telemarketers as you can make them think the phone number is dead.
Some have said a few things are missing, such as faxing and no number portability. You cannot port your mobile number into GV. But, it is free and you can’t have everything. So I suggest you set yourself up a GV account and get going. Overall, GV, with its easiness of use and innovative features, is great. I can think of a lot of applications for this technology, which I think I will hold on to for right now…