The Only Phone Number You Need

I have had a Google Voice account since before Grand Central was bought out by Google. Like a lot of things, I signed up, played with it a little and then let the account sit there gathering dust.

Last month, Google opened the system up to allow users to set Google Voice as the default voice mail for cell phones. I had no problems with the way my ATT voice mail was working but it got me started about the service some more. Last week I forwarded my cell phone voice mail and, with the help of Aaron Blakely at Comspan) I got my office phone voice mail forwarded.

From the couple of test calls we made I know I am going to love the system. Here is how it works:

If you call my cell phone, I will probably answer. The only time I have it off is sometimes on the golf course or in places where it is not allowed or impolite to have it on. I also don’t answer it if I have to dig it out of my pocket when I’m driving. If I don’t or can’t answer, you will go to my Google Voice voice mail where the message you leave is transcribed and emailed to me. The call details and the first few words of your message are also sent via text message to my cell phone.

If you call my office number and I am at my desk, I will probably answer (unless you are trying to sell me oil futures, I love my caller id). If I don’t answer it in 3 rings, it forwards to Google Voice. However, before you get my voice mail, Google Voice rings my cell phone where I will probably answer (see above).

I have often felt like I should publish my cell phone number for clients. With Google Voice that is no longer necessary. Call me at the office and you will get me if I am awake and alive.

There are lots of things you can do by grouping contacts and assigning special features to different groups. That is going to take a little time. I also want to play with the Google Voice widget. The widget puts a call me button on a web page. Click a button and Google Voice will call your number and connect you to me. Sounds like the answer for real estate contact me pages huh?

Google Voice is still in limited beta but I have 3 invitations that may get you an account faster than their normal request process. First 3 to request an invite gets them.

By the way: as of January 1, 2010 talking on a cell phone while driving is going to be illegal in Oregon. I picked up a couple bluetooth hands free accessories for our cars at Costco. I’ll let you know how they work if anyone is interested.

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