by Gary Woods
Google has a new service called Google Voice that you have to be invited to join. Fortunately you can invite yourself at, https://services.google.com/fb/forms/googlevoiceinvite/. What the service does is allow you to associate your Google Voice number with your other phone numbers like work, and home, mobile or whatever. You can still make calls from those handsets and their individual numbers will show up on receiver's caller ID screen. But you can also choose to have your Google number show up instead.
The benefit of Google Voice is that you can get call forwarding by setting up rules for how you want your calls routed. You might want calls received before 5 p.m. sent to your office phone, and calls after that to go to your cell phone. You can also set up customizable ringing. Calls from some callers might ring only at home, while others go straight to voicemail.
Google Voice also allows you to manage your voice mail online with the ability to file and archive messages much the way you do in Gmail. You can also customize greetings by caller and by group.
The service isn't Voice-over-IP like Skype or Vonage which means you still need a standard phone connection which can be either cellular or landline to and from Google Voice. Or is it fully integrated yet with the iPhone. But there are Apps for the Android and Blackberry phones.
What Google Voice does best is offer you a free replacement for many of your vendor's premium services. So if you've been looking for a better way to manage all your phone numbers and voice mail check out Google Voice.
If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or see my column on the Internet at http://www.santabarbaraproperties.com or call me at (805) 729-0910
Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc