check out this video. Better? Now we’ve got a few tips to make your Google Voice experience better than ever no matter what phone you use.
General Tips A great way to start using Google Voice is to trick your cell carrier into giving you free calls. To do this you just need to be on a plan that has allows free calls to family and friends. These plans usually cost a bit more and allow you to choose five or ten numbers for free calls. Just add your Google Voice number to that list and change your GVoice caller ID setting to “Display my Google Voice number”. Now any call you receive on your Google Voice line will be free. The only downside here is that because the caller ID will always be your Google number, you won’t know who is calling unless you use call presentation.
Users of the Chrome browser can get a simple extension from Google that has quick access to the most used features like connecting a call, SMS, and inbox checking. If you Google Voice utility for Adobe AIR. This handsome app runs on your desktop giving you access to all of Google Voice’s features.
With Google Voice, you don’t even need to deal with your carrier’s voicemail system. The process of setting up Voice to handle all your voicemails is simple. To do this, your calling plan must include call forwarding. In your Google Voice settings, click the voicemail link next to your mobile number. Google Voice will then guide you through enabling conditional call forwarding. Now when you don’t answer a call, it will be forwarded to your Google Voice line, which will pick up right away. If you’re not on Android, you may want to set up text message forwarding of voicemail transcripts.
If there is no Google Voice app for your smartphone platform (like iPhone), you’ll have to use the web app to access your account. You can even use Google Voice from a feature phone, but you’ll find yourself calling into your phone tree often. Keep this cheat sheet handy if it gets to be a pain.
Google Voice is capable of transcribing your voicemails, but you can also use this as a way to record audio notes for yourself that GVoice will transcribe as well. In your Google Voice contacts, just make a new group and call it “notes” (or whatever you like). Then just add your regular phone number to that group as a contact. It’s a good idea to lose the recorded greeting for this group as you won’t want to listen to it every time you leave a voice note. Finally, change the settings for your phone’s voicemail access. Hit up the Edit menu for your phone number, and in the Advanced Settings under Voicemail access, choose “No”. This way, when you call, the system will let you leave a voicemail instead of playing them back for you. You can press star to access your voicemail if need be.
Tips for Android UsersOn an Android or Blackberry phone, your voicemail is accessible from the Voice app. On Android, make sure to turn on a new feature called Inbox synchronizing. In The Voice app settings, go to Refresh and Notifications, and check “Synchronize Inbox”. Now you will get instant notification of voicemail or SMS in your GV account. So you might as well turn off the email forwarding of your Voice inbox.
Managing multiple phone numbers in a Google Voice account is easy, but rigid. A schedule must be set up in the account settings. But what happens if you don’t go into work one day and your work phone is ringing with GV calls the whole time? There’s a way to automate number switching for Android users, but it requires a small financial investment. Locale is an app that can change settings based on your location (among other things). It runs $10 in the Market; a little on the high side. Add to that the Locale Google Voice Plug-in, which costs $3.99, and you can pick which phones you’d like to ring based on your actual location.
One last thing for Android Google Voice users; take advantage of the Google Voice toggle shortcut. Just long press on the home screen and go to Shortcuts. Scroll down and tap “Toggle Google Voice”. This puts a shortcut on the home screen that, when tapped, will cycle through the different GV calling options. The current setting is shown in a toast notification at the bottom of the screen. You get options like “Use Google Voice to make all calls”, “Do not use Google Voice to make any calls”, “Only use Google Voice to make international calls, and “Ask every time I make a call”.
If you apply even half of these tips, your friends will be amazed by your super-human telephony abilities. If you have any more Google Voice tips, post them in the comments. And if you have any GV invitations to give away, feel free to do that in the comments as well.