The Plus-ification of Google continued yesterday as the company announced it was offloading G+ features onto yet another Google service. But unlike the incredibly annoying (both in name and use) Search Plus Your World, this update's actually pretty useful; Google Voice users will be able to personalize their phone line's behavior using their G+ circles. Don't want to mix business with pleasure? With the new Circles functionality, you could have separate voicemail recordings for friends and coworkers -- and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Google Voice is one of the coolest cloud services we've ever seen. Get your account set up with a phone number in your area code of choice, and Google Voice will provide you with a number of convenient functions for free. Users of Android phones have had the best access to their Google Voice account through a native app, but Google somehow forgot that they make a tablet OS too—until now.
After watching E3, Computex and WWDC hog the headlines for the past few weeks, Google reminded digerati journalists that they were still, you know, one of the biggest freakin' companies in the world at the "Instant Search" event in San Francisco today. The party's barely underway and the Goog's already announced three majorly nifty features coming soon to a search engine near you.
Google Voice. Skype. VoIP-to-PSTN providers. SIP-to-SIP calls. All of these technologies and products allow you to make calls that are either free or much cheaper than on your landline. Wouldn’t it be great if you could escape the clutches of your Telco and connect your home phone to these services? A phone server like Asterisk can help you realize this dream.
Why is Google Voice an essential web app for any smartphone power user? Well, on a fundamental level, it's convenient to say the least--it allows you to synch all of your phones to a single number, which is extremely useful if you swap handsets often. There are, however, many more features you can utilize to really customize your Google Voice experience. Read on to learn more.
After a brief preview, Google Voice number porting is a reality. The Google Voice blog has been updated with a handy video to make the whole process clear to users. This new capability will let users take an existing cellular number, and move it to their Google Voice account. This will replace your current Google Voice number if you have one. It also, as the vide goes to great pains to point out, cancels your current cellular service. This happen automatically when you port a number from a carrier.
Existing users can check their Settings page to find the new Change/Port option under Phones. The process will cost $20 paid via Google Checkout. If you have a contract with your wireless provider, expect to incur a early termination fee. Best to talk to them about the situation beforehand. You may want to wait for your contract to be up before you port your number.
Have any of you taken the plunge already? How did it go?
Perhaps the biggest hurdle Google Voice faces is that it doesn't support number porting, forcing potential users to adapt to a new phone number. That's going to change.
Some Google Voice users are finally seeing the option to transfer their existing number over, TechCrunch reports. Google says it's testing the feature and plans to roll it out to everyone before long.
"We're continually testing new features to enhance the user experience," Google said in a statement. "For a limited amount for time, we're making the Google Voice number porting process available to users. We don't have any additional details to share at this time, but plan to offer this feature to all users in the near future."
If you're account's been flagged, you'll find the option in the settings menu. From there, you're just a few mouse clicks (and $20) away from porting your existing number over to Google Voice and sticking it to Ma Bell.
Google is offering a nice little holiday gift to Us users of Gmail today. You may remember a few months ago when Google rolled out voice calls in Gmail. At the time, they decided to make all Gmail calls to the US and Canada free through the end of 2010. Now that we're reaching the end of the year, Google has seen fit to extend the free calls at least through the end of 2011.
Users can take advantage of this system in their Gmail inbox. The contact list on the left will have a Call Phone option. This brings up a familiar dial pad. If you have a Google Voice number, this will tie in with that service. We've been pleasantly surprised how well this feature works, so there's no reason not to give it a shot since you're guaranteed another year of free calls.
The integration between Gmail and Google voice has been ongoing since August, but one of our favorite features finally seems to be rolling across the board, call recording. This feature has been around for some time now, but unless you knew to hit “4” during the call you probably had no idea it was even possible. The familiar record icon in the lower right corner on the other hand is much more intuitive.
The feature still works the same as before, inbound calls only and both parties are notified that recording has been activated. There also seems to be an arbitrary limitation in place that prevents the recording of calls that bypass Google Voice by going from one Gmail contact from the other, but I’m guessing that will be fixed in time.
Has the feature gone live for you? Anyone out there using it?
The app offers iPhone users a host of features, including cheap international calls, free texts to U.S. numbers, voicemail transcription, ability to display Voice number as caller ID and push notifications. The app requires iOS 3.1 or later.
Apple sparked a controversy when it vetoed the official Voice app for the iPhone and expelled Voice-dependent apps from the App Store in July, 2009. The iDevice maker took 14 months to relent and only approved the app in September.