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googlevoiceIf you can get your hands on a Google Voice account—do it. Google Voice can save you money, save you time, and you never have to give out your personal cell phone number again if you do not want to.

When you get a Google Voice account with a Google number, you get a free phone number that can be paired up with your current cell phone number. You get free visual voicemail—voicemails are organized like emails. You get free voicemail transcription—super handy for lawyers on the move. You can also require that callers identify themselves—when your phone rings and you answer you will hear their name before you choose whether to accept or reject the call. You can also easily record your phone calls and store them online in your Google Voice account (also super handy for lawyers). Lastly, you get free SMS text messaging. One major bummer, however, is that Google Voice will not work on your iPhone.

Overall—this is one great product. If you want clients to reach you on your cell phone, give them your Google Voice number and setup Google Voice to forward to your cell phone. You can also setup Google Voice to only forward Monday through Friday. You can easily call out from your cell phone with your Google Voice number by calling into your Google voicemail and pressing 2 to make a call. Another big advantage is that you can access Google Voice either using your cell phone or from a browser on your computer.

Google also just changed the program to allow Google Voice for existing numbers, minus some of the better features of Google Voice with a Google number. There is no free SMS texting, you cannot record your calls, and there is no caller identification feature. Even without those features, the visual voicemail and transcription is probably worth signing up.


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  • Anne M. Hansen

    I set up a Google Voice number when I started my firm in August, to help me keep better track of client calls and to keep my cell phone number private. I filled out Google’s request for a Google Voice invite, although it took awhile for them to send me the invite. If you know someone who already has a Google Voice account, they have a limited number of invites they can send to friends.

    If you install the Google Voice app on your Blackberry, you can call out through the app or by going into your phone’s address book and selecting “Call using Google Voice.” No matter which method you use (via a cell phone app or Randall’s suggestion of calling into your voicemail), calling out using your Google Voice number is the key to keeping your cell phone number private and making sure clients are only contacting you through your Google Voice number.

    The one downside I’ve encountered is the voicemail transcription. In my experience it’s typically only 50-75% accurate. You can turn off the transcription feature though, and either way you’ll have the actual voicemail message to listen to.

  • Law Shucks

    It works fine on the iphone, you just have to use the webpage instead of a native app (which you can set up as an icon). Other than that, I totally agree and love google voice.

  • That last line in the second paragraph is just plain wrong. You can use Google Phone on your iphone. The problem right now is that Apple is not letting Google submit a Google Voice app to the app store. So, you don’t have a pretty interface for using it- you have to go to the mobile Voice site in Safari to listen to voicemail, text, etc. But you can definitely use it on the iPhone.

  • Well, yes, it “works” on the iPhone in the sense that you can work around Apple and AT&T’s arbitrary refusal to allow the Google Voice app into the App Store by using the browser.

  • Thanks for the correction—I should have been more specific. As far as making calls on the iPhone from Google Voice, I find it rather cumbersome. Having to go into Safari, logging in to Google Voice, and making a phone call is not exactly a streamlined process.

    At that point, it’s easier to go into your settings and just turn off caller ID if you need to disguise your phone number to call a client.

    The other features are still useful. Google Voice also has one major advantage over Skype—you can make calls over the 3G Network (Skype requires a Wi-Fi connection).