• August 2009
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Google Voice on the iPhone

You can currently get an invite for Google Voice. The invitation came right away for me. The only problem is Apple rejected the Google Voice app for iPhones. Of course, this isn’t a big deal for people who have jailbroken phones. With Cydia installed, you can download GV Mobile, and make phone calls through your Google Voice account.

So what is Google Voice, and why would you want one? Let me tell you right now that this thing is cool once you grasp how it works and see it in real time! GV works like this: Google gives you an account and a phone number. In your Google Voice account, you enter your cell phone number, home number, and/or work number. When someone calls your Google voice number, it forwards the phone call to all of your listed phone numbers! You can even specify which numbers ring based on who the caller is. If you have more than one phone, this really allows you to consolidate your phone numbers into one number. I am sure that if you spend any time thinking about the possibilities for this application, you can realize that the uses for this could be huge! For example, you can give your home or cell number to agencies or businesses, while keeping your Google Voice phone number private for friends and family. The main concept to remember here is that your Google Voice number isn’t tied to a phone or device, it is tied to you.

GV also has a lot of neat features, particularly related to voicemail. You can have different greetings for different callers or groups of callers based on your Google Contacts. You can listen to voicemail on the Google Voice webpage. Voicemail is transcribed into text, both when you receive it on your phone (at least for the iPhone), and when you check it on the web. You can forward voicemail recordings to email, or even embed them on websites. GV can record phone call conversations, and listen to a voicemail message as it is being recorded. If you decide to take the call, you can do that too (provided the caller doesn’t hang up of course). Here is the list of things GV can do with links to short videos on how they work.

The one last thing that impressed me, and really sold me on Google Voice, is the international rates. This alone is a good reason to have Google Voice. I occasionally have the need to call Australia, which is only $0.03 a minute. Compare that to my cell phone provider’s international rate, which is $3.50 per minute for the same phone call. I just couldn’t pass that up.

Unfortunately, Google Voice is only available in the USA. There are plans to add it in other countries though. I highly advise folks to go to the GV website and apply for an invitation. If you have a Google or Gmail account, use that if you can. I don’t know if it makes a difference, but I signed up using my Gmail account which I have had for a few years now, and got my invitation instantly. Good luck!


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