As Charley describes:
Google Voice is a service from Google that provides a user with a telephone number, voicemail, conference calling, and text messaging service. It is accessible from any computer with access to the Internet, or from a cellphone or tablet.
The best feature of Google Voice is its price: free. Using your Google account, just sign up, select the number you want from a list of available numbers, and verify and connect your cell phone to the account.
Google Voice supports call routing, text message archiving, and voicemail to e-mail transcription. (But not emergency service calls.) If traveling, you can access voicemails and make calls without cell service:
Google Voice users can make and receive calls and text messages, as well as fetch their voicemail, over the internet instead of a cell tower signal. I’ve accessed my voicemail and text messages from remote locations around the state just by finding a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Great tip Charley! My only caveat is to keep security risks in mind when using Wi-Fi.
If you’ve committed to Google Voice and want to know about using it on your Android Phone or iPad, see:
I blogged earlier this month about how to cope with Gmail outages. Google Voice is tied to your Gmail account. If Gmail goes down, Google Voice may also experience an outage. Without a doubt, you will lose WiFi functionality, voicemail to e-mail transcription, and perhaps other features. A cursory search did not return an answer to the question: How many times has Google Voice experienced an outage? However, searching for “Google Voice outage” returns numerous results dating back the last few years. Whether Google’s uptime stats are better or worse than the competition is hard to gauge.
Finally, I can’t write a post about Google Voice without expressing how much I like Ruby Receptionists, our very own home-grown virtual reception service based in Oregon. Ruby Receptionists goes far above and beyond Google Voice, with the advantage of personalized, live reception services. Read about this awesome service for lawyers here. For another take, see this post.
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