TechBite: Google Voice is Cool & Free


By Steve Bass

Google Voice for Everyone

For the last year or so, Google Voice (formerly called Grand Central, a name I loved) was available only if someone invited you. Yeah, I know; I never did. It’s now open to everyone in the United States (stop whining) and I suggest you look at it.

I’ve hot-linked some of the features I talk about to short YouTube videos that’ll give you more details.

The basics: Google Voice gives you a local number with tons of rich features that becomes the one number you’ll use. You configure Google Voice with all your other phones — smart or dumb cell phones and landlines, at home or work – and, based on who’s calling, have Google Voice route the call directly to voicemail or any of your phones. If you don’t know where you’ll be — say, work, home, or mobile — Google Voice can ring all your numbers; you pick up the one that’s handiest.

Of course, Google Voice gives you options: Rather than using a Google Voice phone number, you can use your existing phone number and still get some of the features. (Here’s a breakdown comparing using your own number versus the one Google supplies.)

Google Voice gives you the usual tricks like voicemail, call forwarding, and teleconferencing–it also does this…

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