Google Voice Logo

For about a year now, I’ve been using Google Voice, a phone service from our friends at Google.  Last summer, I got in on the ground floor with a special invite (remember when Gmail was invite-only?).  But now, Google has just announced that Google Voice is available to anyone!  My take: you need it…go get it.

Let me give you my top 5 reasons you should use Google Voice:

1. Pick Your Number
With Google Voice, you get to pick your own number.  You can even search for number combinations that you like.  That’s pretty slick.  Plus, you can pick any area code you want.  So, if you’re like me and got a cell phone number while in college that you’re kind of attached to, you can pick a new number that’s local to where you live now so that landline users don’t have to dial long distance to reach you.  This is the biggest benefit to me.

2. Transcribed Voicemails
Although the transcription isn’t perfect (yet), it’s very convenient to have a copy of your voicemails emailed or even texted to you.  That way, you can read them, even when you can’t call up your voicemail.  Also, Google Voice can handle the voicemail that comes in through your standard cell number.

3. Forward Calls
When a call comes in on the Google Voice number, you can have it ring any phone you want.  You can even have certain callers ring to certain phones.  At my church, this is helpful for special events.  I can give out one number as an event hotline, and then it will ring to specific team leaders so that the call isn’t missed.  This also protects the “real” numbers of our team leaders.

4. Screen or Block Calls
There’s no nice way to say it, but let’s face it, we all have certain people that we’d rather not receive calls from.  With Google Voice, just send ’em straight to voicemail or block them altogether.  You can also screen calls that are from private or unknown numbers.  This make them announce who’s calling.

5. Do Not Disturb
Going on vacation? Well, you gotta take your phone, but you probably don’t want just everyone and their brother calling you.  With Google Voice, you can send your calls directly to voicemail while you enjoy your vacation. 🙂

Bonus: It’s Free!
Free is good.  It makes this very appealing. You have nothing to loose.  Try it.  If you don’t like it, you’ve lost nothing, right?

So, that’s my top 5ish reasons to use Google Voice.  And, I didn’t even mention the other features like: conference calls, low international rates (as low as 2 cents per minute), web widgets, call recording, special voicemail greetings for special callers, ring certain calls to certain phones, and more.  Click here for Google’s feature page.  Click here and here for reviews from other bloggers.

For those who are inherently suspicious of new techie things, here are the supposed cautions to Google Voice.

So, are you persuaded yet?  Or maybe, you’ve been using it for a while.  Let me know in the comments.  In the meantime, watch this clip from Google to learn more.