The first Android App I had to review is Google Voice. I'd have to categorize it as a "Super App" and reveal it is one of the driving forces in my upgrade to the Nexus One from the iPhone. Before my Android (B.A.) I used Google Voice for incoming calls only, as it was too much trouble to dial out with it. While it can be used on any phone (cell or land line), Google Voice is seamlessly integrated and works beautifully on Android phones!
The simple rundown of Google Voice is that you get a phone number, not attached to an actual phone. Then you set it up to call your actual number/numbers. Sounds useless, right?
Google Voice is actually a Super App for parents too, as its lets you leave one phone number for people to reach you, and it can find you in a multitude of different ways. For example, I give out my Google Voice number to the school then set it up to call me on both my home and cell numbers. If it goes to voicemail, it sends me a text and email with the transcript of the voicemail, along with a link to actually listen to the voicemail.
Features of Google Voice:
- Control which incoming numbers call you where and at what time
- Individualized messages and voice greetings for each contact
- Contacts are integrated with your Google Contacts
- Set up rules that forward calls to different numbers depending on time of day
- Transfer calls between your land line and cell
- Block calls from from specific numbers
- Screen calls and pick up in the middle of the message
And these are just the features I use!
One caveat is that it is available my invite only. If you know someone who already has Google Voice, they may be able to send you an invite ( I have 3 invites available right now, leave a comment below with your email if you would like one). Otherwise use this form to request an invite directly from Google for now and is only available in the U.S..
You can pick your own phone number depending on availability. I moved recently to a another state, but didnt want to change my cell number and I could not, for the life of me, remember my new home number. I sat down at Google Voice and picked a number with my new Area Code that was simple and had one of my children's names within it. So while it was easy for me to remember, it was also very easy for the kids to memorize too!
A little history: Apple rejected Google Voice for the iPhone App Store, without giving a real reason. Was it because the iPhone can't multi-task which would be required to run Google Voice at the same time as placing and taking calls or because AT&T didn't want the App? I don't know, or really care now!
Phones Test On: Nexus One, G1