Sunday, May 27, 2012

Google Voice II

Almost 3 years ago I posted about how I used Google Voice. Lots has changed since then so it's time for an update.

Since then I've continued to use Google Voice and become more dependent on it. So much that my wife got frustrated with the incoming calls at our house that started off with Google Voice's call screening. To mitigate this I am using a RingMaster number as part of my AT&T Complete Choice Enhanced service. This RingMaster number has distinctive ring so she can tell that the incoming call is for me. As Complete Choice has multiple RingMaster numbers I have a second Google Voice number for my wife that has its own distinctive ring.

One of the issues I noted in my original post regarding cellular mobile to mobile was covered here as not being an issue but I'll repeat that here for completeness. Don't worry about it for incoming calls.

Google Voice is now incorporated in Google Hosted Apps so contacts are shared between Google Voice and your Google Hosted Apps e-mail. And obviously these contacts are presented on your Android phone so the contacts and their management is now seamless. Nice.

In my original post I called "voice mail transcription (cute but really pretty worthless)." I stand by that. I'm disappointed that Google hasn't made any progress in that area. The only thing remotely useful in the transcriptions is telephone numbers.

Previously I mentioned "service disruptions." These are almost non-existent now. Rarely I have a call where the sound is choppy and that is always with one of the parties being on a mobile phone.

The Google Voice exchanges are sometimes new to the local phone network and I've had occasional issues with private telephone switches not recognizing the Google Voice exchange. This is always on SMB phone systems so I think it is a local administrator issue.

One of the most useful features is the Google Voice logs. The "History" log is a comprehensive history of all calls, incoming and outgoing, and text traffic. In addition to the expected information, e.g. number, date, time, status, etc., there is a "note" field. I use this to annotate the calls including the name of the caller if not in my Contacts. As expected there is a powerful search capability.

International calling rates are still the most attractive I've found. Basically calling a landline in Western Europe is 2¢ per minute. I am not a big international caller so I'm actually still running off the startup $1.00 credit Google gave me.


Google Voice still doesn't support MMS text messages, i.e. SMS with media. There is a workaround for Sprint customers described here but I'd still call that a hack.

Google Voice doesn't support fax. Although this is getting less and less pertinent it's still an issue when dealing with many businesses.

No comments: