Helpful App of the Week: Taking Google Voice to the Next Level

 

If you have a Google Apps account, you have a Google Voice account. Google Voice is tremendously useful and much more powerful than most people realize. 

I wanted to walk you through how I use Google Voice to give you a sense of the functionality. 

First let's review the specific hardware and software involved in this workflow. A PC (MacBook Pro in this case) with a speaker and microphone; most newer PCs will have this functionality, but they can also be purchased separately. A Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.2.2. A Gmail account, a Google Voice account and number, the Google Voice Chrome Extension, and the Android Google Voice app from the Google Play store. 

I use my Google Voice number as my primary number. When someone calls this number it rings my Gmail account. If you've talked to me "on the phone" anytime in the past few years, you were likely talking to me through Gmail. Gmail is the most common way I receive and place "phone calls". When I need to call someone, I don't reach for my Android device, I don't even leave Gmail.

 
 
 
 

So we don't need a phone to take or make phone calls if we're on our computer, pretty nifty. Let's say someone leaves a voicemail or sends us a text. Here's where our Google Voice Chrome Extension comes in handy. The extension shows us a transcript of all our voicemails so we can give them a quick read or we can play the recording and listen. Text messages are also displayed right in the extension and we can write right back in the extension as well - sure beats typing on a smartphone! It brings the speed and ease of use of instant messaging to SMS.

 
 
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Google Voice on Android also provides a transcript of our voicemails, which can be very helpful. Most of the time I can review the transcript and get enough information that I don't have to listen to the message. 

 
 
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Similar to Gmail, Google Voice also has its own inbox on the Web. You can keep track of all your communications - as far as I know you can store unlimited voicemail and text messages in Google Voice. Google Voice also delivers excellent search; since all your voicemails are transcribed, you can search for anything you'd like. Did a caller mention an invoice or a particular product? Maybe they mentioned the address of a particular business partner. You can try searching your inbox for the message and easily find something regardless if the voicemail was from yesterday or last year!

 
 
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Google Voice is extremely useful. Hopefully this post gives you some ideas!