Using Google Voice: Review & Suggestions

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Using Google Voice: Review & SuggestionsGoogle Voice is a newer service offering from Google that provides users with a phone number to which they can use to tie-in all of their other phone numbers. The primary idea behind this service is that users can simply give out the same, single number to family, friends, and clients, and depending on their settings, one can forward all calls directly to the number of their choice.

Using Google Voice: Review & Suggestions

Google Voice is a newer service offering from Google that provides users with a phone number (new, free, and your choice) to which they can use to tie-in all of their other phone numbers. The primary idea behind this service is that users can simply give out the same, single number to family, friends, and clients, and depending on their settings, one can forward all calls directly to the number of their choice - mobile, office, or home phone.

Furthermore, Google voice also offers a digital voice-mail box feature, as well as the ability to transcribe voice-mails to a text message or email.

My Thoughts

I've had the opportunity to test Google Voice for the last few months, and am happy to say that I am very pleased with how well it works. Google Voice is a great service, and fills the needs users have when managing multiple contact numbers. However, as with any tool or service, there is always room for improvement. I compiled the following list of 5 suggestions for making the Google Voice service better.

Implement Day-Parting Features

Day-Parting will give users even greater control for when handling their calls throughout the week, and even hours of the day. For example, I, like most, work a 40-hour work week in an office. However, on nights and weekends, I am at home with my family. It would be great if Google Voice could be set to transfer my calls to the most appropriate contact number based on the schedule that I provide.

Implement Caller ID Rules

Having the ability to create individual Caller ID rules for specific people or groups of people would be a top-notch feature. If I could first segment my contacts into groups, Google Voice can then screen my calls, and handle them according to the rules I've set for each group. For example, I'd very much wish to receive all calls from 'Group A' (friends, and family), have calls from 'Group B' (old clients, and colleagues) sent to voice-mail, and have calls from 'Group C' (sales calls, and others who can't seem to take a hint) go nowhere - let it ring, but do not notify me or provide them with voice-mail options. I believe this feature, integrated well with my day-parting idea, would be amazing. Users would no longer be bothered with work calls during "off" hours, or personal calls during "on" hours... if they should choose to.

Implement Analytics and Reporting

Having access to basic usage analytics would be a great feature for businesses wishing to monitor their phone usage. For example, I'd very much like to see a reporting section that featured such stats as the total number of calls received, a breakdown of where calls were being transferred, and the average talk time of each call. These stats, and others, will help users to better understand their time, and time-management needs.

Implement Multiple Voice-Mail Introductions

Having the ability to create multiple voice-mail introductions for individuals or groups of people is a simple idea, and one that can be appreciated by all. For example, I'd like the ability to create a more personal introduction for when my friends and family call, but a more a professional introduction for when colleagues, clients, and vendors call. Their are obvious benefits for wanting this.

Implement Better Voice Translation

Google Voice's voice-translation is a great feature when it works. It really is. However, it is extremely annoying when it doesn't, which seems to be more often than not. I find that translation problems exist when callers speak with an accent, or use words that are easily mistaken for other words. I like the idea of voice-to-text translation because it means not having to take time checking and listening to voice messages. But, when it doesn't work or the message is not clear, it defeats the purpose.

Overall, I enjoyed using Google Voice and will continue to do so. It's a tool that simplifies my need for passing out multiple contact numbers, and would encourage others with similar needs to give it a try.

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