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What's all the fuss about Google Voice??
August 18, 2009 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Am I the only one who doesn't quite 'get' the benefit of Google Voice (Grand Central)? It seems to only address one half of the equation - inbound calls

So I signed up for Grand Central a while ago, and have been grandfathered into the Google Voice effort. But I have never used the service for the following reason (or use case):

If someone calls my GV number, it can ring multiple phones and I have the great online voicemail, etc (I get the benefit of these services...). However, if I miss a call, and call the caller back, it will be from my cell or landline or work phone, NOT from the GV number.

This seems confusing for people who want to get in touch with me - I know, for instance, my parents would never understand why I have one number that they use to call me but my return call will be either from my home or work or cell phone and essentially NEVER from my GV number, unless I use the web interface to call my phone and then call the originally-dialed number...

Isn't the brass ring the ability to have a service that works in both the inbound as well as the outbound directions? It just doesn't make sense to have this as half of a product...

I think there are apps for certain devices which will accomplish this (internet from the cell phone to GV servers, which call your cell phone and then the originally-dialed number) and, in concept, this would address my question... if there are users using this, please weigh in!

As a side note, I was in charge of developing some fixed-mobile communications services for a major wireless company a few years back, so I'm not a newbie at this whole game... but I just don't get GV...
posted by dyerfr to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's my understanding that you can call from the GV interface, and it will dial your phone, connecting the two numbers. I would IMAGINE this uses your GV number...maybe?
posted by toekneebullard at 1:49 PM on August 18, 2009


Yeah - if you are using the GV app to dial out, it comes frfrom your GV number. On the iPhone, when you dial w/ GV, it actually calls your phone, you answer it and the call gets pushed through.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 1:50 PM on August 18, 2009


I think there are apps for certain devices which will accomplish this (internet from the cell phone to GV servers, which call your cell phone and then the originally-dialed number) and, in concept, this would address my question...

It's still not ideal, but I believe if you call your own Google Voice number, and dial 2 + the number, you will connect to that number with your GV number as the Caller ID. That at least makes it possible to call people with the right Caller ID from any phone, but to be really usable it would need to have some sort of address book feature because most people don't want to memorize and punch in phone numbers anymore.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:54 PM on August 18, 2009


If you can't use a phone app or the web interface, you can call your Google Voice number, put in your pin if needed, press 2, and dial the number you want to call.
posted by zsazsa at 1:54 PM on August 18, 2009


I had the same issue until Grand Central switched to GV. I now use the internet interface to call people back. Or to initiate a call. I use the app on my blackberry to do the same when I am mobile. THe key for me was getting my cell phone contacts into Google Voice so I could call them all without having to look up a number. My mom understands now that she does not have to remember three different numbers for me, but calls my GV number no matter where I am. It is not very convenient when calling from my cell phone, but it works.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:55 PM on August 18, 2009


Android phones can use Google Voice directly for outgoing calls.
posted by halogen at 1:56 PM on August 18, 2009


This seems confusing for people who want to get in touch with me - I know, for instance, my parents would never understand why I ... NEVER [call] from my GV number

It was the same way with pagers back in the day. You called a number to page someone and were then called back by a different number. Why does it matter if you never use one of your numbers to call out? If you use one their caller id recognizes, they know it is you.
posted by soelo at 1:57 PM on August 18, 2009


Also,

It just doesn't make sense to have this as half of a product...

Many people still use Call Forwarding and don't think of it as half of a solution.
posted by soelo at 2:02 PM on August 18, 2009


You are correct: GV is awkward for exactly this reason. All the workarounds are just that, workarounds. I just don't think they can do any better, given the existing telephone infrastructure. What you'd need is some option to tell, say, your landline phone, "every time I place a call, route it through here." This doesn't exist, yet!
posted by wyzewoman at 2:04 PM on August 18, 2009


google released an appliction which runs on android and blackberry phones. they also released the product for the iphone but it was banned.

i have the google voice app installed on my g1 and it is great. a widget is added to the desktop that lets you toggle through the possible configurations.

1 - disable google voice
2 - ask me if i would like to use google voice when making a call
3 - use google voice automatically when making international calls
4 - use google voice for all calls.

so far it has worked without issue for me.
posted by phil at 2:16 PM on August 18, 2009


As halogen says, using GV on an Android phone completes the picture. When I dial a number, I get an option to use my GV number or my regular number. I can set either one as a default. It supplants the normal dialer app so it's pretty seamless.
posted by dreadpiratesully at 2:27 PM on August 18, 2009


nthing that GV + android = both sides covered

Until you call a number that won't accept calls from GV, like my doctor's office.
posted by nomisxid at 3:01 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I use GV as cost saving measure. I'm on cell prepaid and I solely use GV when I'm home to make unlimited calls (GV + Skypein) while maintaining a single number.

You seem to have answered your own question. You do have the other 1/2 of the product, its just that you don't want to use it.
posted by wongcorgi at 3:14 PM on August 18, 2009


As someone who hardly ever answers the phone (leave a message, suckas) I like it, especially for the transcription of messages.

But yes, I can see it being a hassle if you make a lot of outgoing calls.
posted by rokusan at 3:19 PM on August 18, 2009


I've found the voicemail transcription to be really mediocre. Youmail.com's transcription is almost perfect by comparison.

But I've had the same sort of mental blockage with GV. Yes, I'm an iPhone owner as well.
posted by reddot at 8:21 PM on August 18, 2009


It was the same way with pagers back in the day.

OTOH, CLID was a lot less common in the era of pagers.
posted by hattifattener at 8:28 PM on August 18, 2009


I've found the voicemail transcription to be really mediocre. Youmail.com's transcription is almost perfect by comparison.

Note that Google's transcription (which really is mediocre) is pretty much the state-of-the-art in terms of purely automated speech recognition. Youmail.com and other services use human-based transcription methods to provide better results, which can raise privacy concerns.
posted by burnmp3s at 6:55 AM on August 19, 2009


google released an appliction which runs on android and blackberry phones. they also released the product for the iphone but it was banned.

It's worth noting that Apple has claimed to the FCC that they're still evaluating it and have not rejected it outright. Though, there were several 3rd party ones that got pulled.
posted by Caviar at 10:48 AM on August 24, 2009


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