Playing with Google Voice

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I know many others have already written about Google Voice… But I haven’t had a chance to play with it until now. I set up Google Voice for my cell phone and my home phone. I decided to call it using my husband’s cell phone to see what the experience is like. When you call a Google Voice account, it asks you to leave your name and then Google Voice alerts the account owner. My phone rang saying my husband was calling. I answered and Google Voice asked if I wanted to answer the call, let it go to voice mail or listen in while the person leaves the voice mail. I opted to let it go to voice mail. I left a quick message after that.

The result: I quickly had an inbox message on Google Voice with the audio and a transcript of the voicemail. It wasn’t a perfect transcript, but it was incredible how quickly it was completed. Along with the ability to call the phone back or send an SMS, I can even embed the voicemail:

Let’s think about this in the sense of news collection. You could have a reporter call in, leave a voicemail report and quickly share the text with the news producers or editors while placing the audio recording onto your newsroom’s website. The audio is also downloadable. What if a reporter used Google Voice to call in his or her voice track for a news package? Who knows. I hope to try these ideas out in my newsroom. Does anyone else have good ideas for the use of Google Voice?

UPDATE: I was too excited to play with Google Voice – I missed that it gives you an option to record your phone conversation. The next thing I hope to investigate is how long Google Voice will record your audio. Imagine the simplicity of collecting a phoner interview using Google Voice. A transcribed interview before you even sit down to write.

3 comments ↓

#1 JC Sports on 08.24.09 at 9:38 am

To many fun features for Google Voice (GV). One could probably just sit around the whole day and think of different ways to use them.

Being able to transfer the call to another of your account phones is kind of neat. Not sure how often one would use it, but say your cell battery is going dead, you could transfer to your house/work phone, or you are on a call and getting ready to head out, you could transfer the call to your cell. You hit * and the other phones that you have set to ring on your account begin to ring, you can then pick up one of the other phones and hang up the phone you are on, simply continue your conversation with the individual you are talking to. I believe this feature and call recording are only available for incoming calls though.

Other things one can do. If one has a circle of friends kind of thing going on with their cell plan, putting the Google number in the loop could be handy. Unlimited calls to it, then you can hit 2 when you connect via your GV number and make outgoing calls from it, thus it connects you to another number, no long distance, no additional peak minutes.

One can also hit 3 when calling their GV number and it will connect you with Goog411, not that you can’t dial it directly, but still handy.

Another neat feature is using the web front end to make calls via Contacts. You can initiate a call from the web front-end and it will ask which phone on your account you want to use. It then calls the phone you have noted, then places the call to the other party. Nice thing is that you have a history of the calls you made, which you can also add notes to, and being Google, these are searchable.

The blog widget is kind of cool. You can put it on your site, then one can use it to call you, but it doesn’t give out your number. They enter their number, it calls them, then it connects them with your GV number.

You can setup custom greetings based on the person calling too. When it was GrandCentral it had a checkbox option that would allow you to have the greeting say the old phone company message of, “This number is no longer in service.”, even though it was, but that could help with the unwanted calls. Looks like they dropped this when migrating things over to GV, but I am sure one could find the recording and implement on their own.

You can even have different phones ring based on who is calling.

Keep playing, you’ll find more.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see GV offer something like it at some point, but another handy service is Dial2Do. Neat thing with it is that you can set it up where you call it, it will translate your text to a Twitter post. The post also has a link back so that you can listen to the actual voice recording.

#2 Jen Reeves on 08.25.09 at 9:14 am

That’s really cool. Thanks for details on all of the additional perks to GV. I enjoyed using it while I was in China a couple of weeks ago. It helped me stay in touch with the family without ever turning on the cellphone function for my iPhone.

#3 Kareem Johnson on 12.01.09 at 11:03 am

The transcription feature adds a new dimension to recording interviews. It allows a reporter to more accurately quote sources.

Before, I was trying to thing of ways connect my cell phone to my voice recorder. That’s less of a problem now.

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