Get ready for Google Voice. It’ll change how you use your phone.
Google Voice, one of Google’s newest applications, lets you have one phone number that will ring on your cell phone, your home phone, your office phone, or all three simultaneously, depending on the settings you choose.
You can set it so that when clients call your Google Voice number only your cell phone rings, but when, say, your kids call that same number, the call rings all of your phones so you can pick up wherever you happen to be. You can even set it so that calls from people you don’t want to talk to go straight to voice mail! (All voicemail messages, by the way, will be transcribed so that you can read them online or as text messages on your cell phone.)
Google Voice is available now to users in the U.S., and it’s absolutely free. You can apply for a Google Voice phone number on their website. It reportedly takes about a week for the Google team to respond to your application.
I haven’t applied for a Google Voice number, yet. I’m waiting for portability.
Right now, you have to get a new number—which means you’ll no longer be using your current cell number, home number, etc. (It also means having to reprint your business cards to include your new Google phone number.) But Google plans to announce phone number portability in the near future. That will allow you to have your current cell number assigned as your Google Voice number.
Stay tuned. As soon as I can port my current number, I’ll sign on to Google Voice and let you know how it works.