In his bestseller “A 4-Hour Work Week”, Tim Ferris considers the telephone as next to e-mail for being the worst time-waster. Think of how much you spend or waste managing answering that incessant ringing that demands immediate attention when you are in the middle of an important task or while you are resting.
To make it more frustrating, many of these calls are plain nuisance such as wrong numbers, calls from salesmen, social calls from people you hardly know, etc.
Hiring a virtual assistant is the most logical thing to free you of these headaches t for a fraction of the pay you would pay an actual telephone operator or a secretary. But wait—better still, how would you like to have your own telephone operator who will do the job 24/7 for FREE?
GrandCentral, a French phone management service was first launched in 2006. The basic idea around GrandCentral is “one phone number for all your phones, for life.” The company wants to address the problem of constant changing of phone numbers of people when they change jobs, homes, and cell phones. This results to a lot of phone numbers to keep track of. Keeping everyone updated with your most recent phone numbers can be costly. With the GrandCentral, there is just one single phone number to give to all contacts. The following video will explain this further:
The following year, Google acquired GrandCentral but due to some technical issues, the re-launching of the project was delayed for almost 2 years and the name was changed to “Google Voice”.
Google Voice keeps GrandCentral’s basic idea of is “one phone number for all your phones, for life” but enhanced the project with additional features. Despite these new enhancements, Google says the service is still going to be free. Users can purchase credit (much like Skype) to make international calls at a much lower rates.
Text Messaging: A problem with GrandCentral was it didn’t allow text messaging, so you had to tell people your mobile number as well if you wanted to send and receive text messages with them. With Google Voice now, text messages are accepted and forwarded on to your mobile phone. You can also respond to those messages.
Voicemail Transcription (online voicemail): All voicemails are transcribed easily saved into the system and searchable. Users can add notes or tags to voicemails. Transcription takes about 30 seconds to be seen in the system from the end of a voicemail.
Friend Settings: Google has added new settings that allow users to route calls directly to the voicemail, or mobile phone, etc, instead of having to state their name and then be forwarded accordingly.
New User Interface: The primary user interface for Google Voice is through your phone via an audio menu. Now, users can also log in to the website and view activity. This interface has been improved so that it now is as comprehensive as Gmail inbox with tabs for Voicemail, SMS, Recorded calls, Placed calls, Received calls and Missed calls. The Google Voice easily integrates into the list of links to Google apps at the top left of each application. All SMS and transcribed voicemails are searchable and can be tagged, thus making it easy for users to interact with these messages.
Google has fixed the outages problems of GrandCentral and avoids further reassigning of phone numbers. With the new SMS feature, there is no need to give mobile phones separately.
Google Voice enhances the existing capabilities of your phone, regardless of which phone or carrier you have – for free!
For more details on features of the Google Voice, watch the following videos:
Google Voice – What it is and How to use it: