Print 16 comment(s) - last by jimbojimbo.. on Aug 26 at 3:43 PM

  (Source: Mashable)
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On its altruistic quest for world domination, Google has merged Google Voice with Gmail, allowing users to make phone calls to any number directly from the browser.

According to neowin, Google will be rolling out the feature progressively in the U.S. and Canada over the next few days. Or you can install the Google Voice plugin now, allowing you to make free calls to anyone in the U.S. or Canada, and 2-cent-per-minute calls to 30 select countries.

The feature will allow users to receive calls right in Gmail, too, with their Google Voice phone number. TechCrunch is reporting that "call quality is very, very good – comparable to Skype." TC has a short video demonstrating the new functionality.

For the uninitiated, Google Voice is a (mostly) free phone service and allows users to choose one number for up to six different devices. You can use the same number for a mobile phone, home phone, and work phone, having all phones ring at the same time, or having none of them ring. Voicemails that others leave you are automatically transcribed to text and are forwarded to your e-mail.

The newly integrated Google Voice will also support video chat.

At the same press conference that it announced the new functionality, Google also unveiled plans to install U.K.-style red phone booths across universities and airports to promote Google Voice. Users will be able to make free calls from the booths, which employ Google Voice, to anywhere in the world. The booths are a way for the California-based tech company to show off the the voice quality of the service compared to other VoIP and landline-based phones.

Google did not say how many phone booths it plans to install or release specific locations. Look for more details in the coming weeks.

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RE: Great Quality
By Blight AC on 8/26/2010 11:19:18 AM , Rating: 2
Google Voice tied to your phone service is plain awesome. You give people your Google Voice number and it rings on any phone you setup. I believe you can even schedule phones to ring at certain times of day (like your office phone will ring during your normal work hours etc).

Also, the Voicemail service is great, the transcriptions... well, some are just so hilariously wrong, but it can be useful, especially if people give their number clearly.

If you have an Android phone, it integrates with the phone nicely giving you free instant Text Messages to your Google Voice number, as well as instant notifications of new Voicemails.

Also, Google Voice gives you tons of control over how your calls are routed. You can have certain contacts only ring on specific phones, or go directly to a "This number is no longer in service." message for those pesky telemarketers, advertisers, ex's, etc (although I haven't had any using my Google Voice number yet).

The biggest issue I've seen with Google Voice is answering machines. You have two options, you can either be prompted to press 1 to accept any/specific Google Voice calls, which really is annoying when trying to take a call with handsfree, or set all answering machines to only answer after 6 rings or more (if you still have landline or a VoIP service). With Cell Phones you can opt to have your normal voicemail service replaced with Google Voice's, so when a user calls your cell phone, and it goes to voicemail, it'll go to your Google Voice voicemail instead of your cell providers service.

The problem is if you don't have the prompt setup, it's possible that the call can be picked up by any answering machine that takes the call first. Then if they leave a message on that answering machine, you won't get a notification and transcription through the Google Voice service. If Google Voice is setup to prompt though, the answering machine doesn't deliver the prompt and your call goes to the Google Voice voicemail. So, it's a bit clunky if you have any landlines/VoIP with voicemail or answering machines, but overall, the service is totally worth it.

I currently have mine setup to not prompt for Contact's Starred in Android, my cell phone setup to use Google Voice's voicemail and my answering machine at home setup to answer on 6 rings.

What I most like about the service is that when people call my Google Voice number, it rings both my cell and home numbers. It's quite convenient, as people don't have to try multiple numbers to find me, and when my cell phone isn't loud enough or the ringer is off, I'll still be likely to hear a call while at home. My cell ringer is typically loud enough for me to hear while it's on me, but not so much when it's in the kitchen and I'm playing on my PC in a different room, or watching TV.

Oh, one other feature I love is you can press * (or maybe #) while on a call and it will ring your other Google Voice numbers! Getting bad reception on your cell at home? You can simply transfer the call to your home number, and take it on a landline. Also useful if you're low on minutes or battery on your cell, or took the call while driving home, and now want to use the home phone for the rest of the call. Pretty good stuff.

RE: Great Quality
By jimbojimbo on 8/26/2010 12:01:11 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, one other feature I love is you can press * (or maybe #) while on a call and it will ring your other Google Voice numbers
It's the * and yes, this is very convenient but you can only do this with incoming calls, not ones you've placed. Maybe in the future.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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