Tag Archives | Google Voice

Google Mashes Up Gmail and Google Voice, Makes U.S./Canada Calls Free

I try to restrain myself from calling any new tech product or service a killer. But Google just announced that it’s integrating Google Voice into Gmail, turning its e-mail service into a fully Web-based Voice-over-IP system that lets you talk to people with landlines and cell phones all over the world. And…well, it looks like it could be an awfully compelling Skype alternative. Especially since calls to cell phones and landlines in the U.S. and Canada that you’d pay for with Skype are free.

The integration adds a cool new feature to Gmail, but as a long-time Google Voice addict, I’m even more excited about what it does for that service. Now those of us with Google Voice numbers can use it in a new way, and without burning through mobile phone minutes.

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Apple's Google Voice Pondering Goes on. And on.

TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid notes that it’s now been a year since Apple told the FCC that it hadn’t rejected Google’s Google Voice app–it was just concerned about Google Voice bypassing the iPhone’s own Phone interface, and “pondering” how to respond.

Twelve months later, Apple is still pondering–which is confusing, because it’s also approved Line 2, Skype, and other apps which let you make phone calls without using the iPhone’s phone features. Meanwhile, Google ended up releasing a Web-based version of Voice for iPhone users–not bad, but nowhere near as seamless as the native one for Android and BlackBerry. And most of the other interesting things that Google has done for iPhone users in the past year have come in the form of Web apps, not local ones. I don’t think Google is boycotting the iPhone, but it sure would be understandable if it preferred not to invest a lot of time in apps that Apple might decide to “ponder” indefinitely rather than approve.

If there’s any explanation for Apple’s permanent pondering of Google Voice at the same time that it approves other phone apps that doesn’t involve its rivalry with Google, I’d love to know what it is. And I’d love to know the FCC’s take on Apple’s explanation. Maybe it’s still pondering it.

Meanwhile, Kincaid notes at the end of his story that he, like TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, is one of the few folks who have been permitted to port their existing phone number to Google Voice, making it possible to make that number reach them on any phone. He says Google plans to roll out the feature to everyone “soon.”


20 Hilarious Google Voice Transcription Bloopers, Flubs, and Fails

If Google Voice is the Swiss Army knife of call management services, speech-to-text voicemail transcription is the questionable nail file. Google Voice’s transcription failures are well-documented around the Internet–entire Web sites are dedicated to these follies. They’re more amusing than frustrating, provided you’ve got a sense of humor. Fascinated with Google Voice’s brand of surreal humor, I set out to find the best (worst) Google Voice transcription errors. I found them around the Web, and collected more from the Technologizer comunity, including our founder. Read on for some examples of why Google Voice transcription still has a very, very long way to go.

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Send us your Google Voice Bloopers, Flubs and Fails!

If you’ve ever used Google Voice to transcribe your voicemail, you’ve probably noticed that the service has good days and bad days, and at worst, the transcriptions can be mildly amusing to downright frightening.

I’m trying to put together the definitive list of awesome Google Voice transcription bloopers, and you can help. Send your best to me at [email protected] or drop me a line on Twitter. Mere jumbles of incongruent words are okay, but the best bloopers have a little something extra, like an awful innuendo or accidental death threat. I’ll be posting the best, along with other gems from around the web, in the next week or so. Thanks!

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Getting Started With Google Voice

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.

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Google Voice Opens Up

I kind of assume that anyone who’s reading this and wants Google Voice long ago figured out a way to wangle an invite. But just in case: You can now sign up immediately, no invitation required. It’s not perfect, but it’s among Google’s best offerings…

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Google Voice for Android Gets Better SMS

When I started using a Droid with Google Voice as my primary phone, I figured I could use Voice’s free SMS feature to avoid paying Verizon for a text-messaging plan. But it turned out that Google’s SMS feature was less than real-time–messages sometimes took minutes to arrive–which eliminated one of the basic characteristics that makes text messaging useful in the first place.

Now Kevin Purdy of Lifehacker is reporting that an update to the Google Voice Android app enables Voice to do SMS in real time, or close enough. If it works as advertised, it’s another meaningful step toward making the already-amazing Google Voice the only primary phone number I’ll ever need…


Google Voice on the iPhone–Finally!

Apple may still officially be “pondering” whether it should approve Google’s Google Voice app for iPhone,  but there’s finally good news: Google has released an entirely Web-based version of the service (at m.google.com/voice). It works on the iPhone as well as Palm’s Pre and Pixi handsets, and brings a large chunk of the functionality of the native Voice apps for Android and BlackBerry to your phone’s browser.

This new version, like mobile Gmail, is among the most app-like browser services I’ve ever seen, period, letting you dial from your Google contacts list or a keypad, read and listen to messages, send text messages, and configure the app right within mobile Safari. When you make calls using it, the person who answers sees your Google Voice number, not the “real” one associated with your phone: Google makes an outgoing call from the iPhone, then reroutes it over a line of its own.

There’s only so far that a Web-based telephony app can go. On Android and BlackBerry, Google Voice can insert itself as your default phone interface, and it gets access to the contacts stored on your phone. On the iPhone, it stays a secondary interface and can’t see your local contacts. (You can, however, use Google Sync to sync your phone’s contacts with your Google Account.) When you make an outgoing call, your iPhone confirms you want to do so and shows Google’s routing number rather than the one you’re really calling–kind of confusing. And while the interface for wrangling messages is a vast improvement on the rudimentary one in the old Web-based Google Voice, it still send you out of Safari and into QuickTime when you want to listen to a message.

In short, the new Web-based Google Voice is impressive–but it doesn’t eliminate the value that a true native Google Voice for iPhone might bring. I’m gloomily assuming that its arrive eliminates whatever remaining chance there was that Apple might approve the app, unless the FCC decides to weigh in further. But I’m also relieved that around 80% of the Google Voice experience–just to pick a number at random–has landed on my iPhone.

Here’s a video Google produced about the new version. A few screens after the jump.

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5Words: Gizmodo’s Guide to Google Voice

Google Voice how-to guide.

Hey, ViewSonic is making netbooks.

iMacs are backordered, Apple apologizes.

Seagate hard drives get thinner.

Inside the Nook (yes, literally!).

What will become of TiVo?

Microsoft China really likes Plurk.

Stockholm and Oslo get LTE.


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