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Adding Voice to my Google Life

March 12th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments


161147-googlevoice_180_originalToday Google finally made the move I have been waiting for by bringing Google Voice into realm of google apps to organize my life.  I am the first to admit I have become a google fan boy and even enjoy teaching classes on how to use the Google to organize other people’s lives.  I am like a born again googler, trying to spread the word. Ever since a co-worker invited me to sign up for Grand Central in 2007, I knew Google was onto something. 

If you have never heard of Grand Central, or only knew it was a NYC metro station, then here are the basics.  You sign up for Grand Central and they give you a local number in your area code, which you can use as you new phone number.  You are given a login to the website and can program that new number to do a multitude of cool things to route your voice calls.  You can set it up to ring your cell phone, home phone, and work phone at the same time.  You can set it up so when your mother in law calls, it never rings your phone, but rings your wife’s phone.  You can get pretty granular with the controls, even setting the time of day preferences to make sure the calls can get to you quicker.  

I have been using Grand Central for a couple years.  For myself, I use it least of which is to actually receive calls.  For the most part I use Grand Central for the most elliquent filtering system available to screen my calls.  It is the main number that I put on everything.  When I fill in any application form or am asked to provide a number that will go into a database somewhere, they get the Grand Central number.  

I am not going to run down all of the features that Grand Central provides, but I want to highlight the new features that Google Voice wil bring. 

Call Record

Ok, I lied about not talking about the old features.  You could do this one on Grand Central, but I never really thought of connecting through Grand Central when placing the call. With the interaction into your contacts and the ability to “Place Calls” I may think twice before pressing the call button.  


Integrating with TEXT messaging is a natural progression that needs to happen with anything with voice. Already getting text message for my calendar appointments and everything else in google, they would have been numb if they missed it here. 

Voicemail Transcripts

Out of the box Google Voice will attempt to create transcripts of your voicemail and let you read what the voicemail is before having to listen to it. While you will have this information online, you can also opt to have it send to SMS or to EMAIL.  For people who find that valuable text message in a meeting or noisy place where you can’t answer the phone, this is perfect. 

Placing Calls

Not directly a feature of Grand Central, but obtainable from a multitude of options, this one may be valuable for people who are running a small business with google apps.  The contact is there in front of you and when you click on the number your phone rings and connects you to the person. 

Google Integration

Let’s face it, the closer you live in a Google world, the easier it makes your life.  If it doesn’t then we need to sit down and talk.  

What is next?

If you have never seen Gizmo5, have a look. 


It is the cheaper free version of Skype ad they are proud to tout that.  Grand Central had some interaction with the, so you can imagine the same level of Skype interaction will follow soon.  

The Privacy

Let’s face it, the number one reason people don’t trust google apps is the privacy.  If you are worried that your transcripts online are invading your privacy or worried that Google will deliver ads based on what you are talking about, they will.  If the material you are talking about is that sensitive, then don’t use this system.  While somehow Google always manages to put things into a warm and fuzzy way of invading your privacy, it still happens. For myself the benefits of organization that it ads to my life has been well worth the fact that somebody else may know what I am up to. 

Media Check

Mildly perturbed at all of the articles out there, pointing to this as a new technology.  While I still pay homage to the guys at CNET for keeping up with most of this information, the rest of the real media has once again dropped the ball in recognizing that this was coming.  


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