Google Voice – a quick bullet point review

Photograph of a Motorola Cell Phone KeypadI’ve been using Google Voice for over a year now, and overall I’m really pleased with it. There was one period of several hours when the service failed completely, apart from that, it’s been very good.

Here’s the details on what I’ve found using Google Voice.

The advantages of Google Voice

  • It is exceptionally good most of the time – the line is clear, and it’s easy to call any contact in my Gmail contact list.
  • Calls to cell ‘phones & land lines in the US are free (as is receiving them).
  • I can use my PC to make and receive calls from my number.
  • I can use almost any ‘phone to receive calls – See ‘Disadvantages’ below.
  • Forwarding to multiple ‘phones.
  • Ability to set ‘do not disturb’ times.
  • International calls are cheap (2c or 2p a minute).
  • I can pay in USD or GBP.
  • The voice mail to text transcription service is remarkably accurate.
  • Changing the settings and adding phones is very easy.

The disadvantages of Google Voice

  • Only available in the US (you can make international calls see ‘Advantages’ above).
  • Effectively no support available (see below).
  • You can’t have multiple Google voice accounts forwarding to the same ‘phone – I would consider this an essential requirement for a lot of people.
  • I’ve experienced a couple of occasions when the system has been unavailable (presumably too busy) to be able to make calls.
  • My number once went inexplicably ‘Disconnected’ for several hours. There is no way to contact live human support. A web search finally took me to a very tacky Google documents form where I registered the problem. I didn’t receive any acknowledgement or notification when the problem was resolved.
  • Integration into Gmail & Google contacts is a little clunky to say the least.
  • No dedicated desktop/browser app. If you want to receive calls on your computer you have to keep a Gmail window open.

Summary

All the time it is working, it is brilliant, when it goes wrong you’re virtually on your own.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. Just be aware that there could be the occasional glitch. However, I’ve never had a ‘phone provider that didn’t have its idiosyncrasies, and the advantages thus far have outweighed the disadvantages.