I’ve been using Google Voice for several months and now that it’s available to everyone in the US (no invitation required) it might be a good time to take a look at it if you haven’t already.
First off, I’ll admit that I use Google Voice for one key feature – the voice message to text conversion. Sure, it’s nice to have an alternate phone number I can give out if necessary, but when it comes down to it I just really dislike listening to voice mail messages. By having Google Voice convert messages to text and send them to my email or via SMS to my phone, I rarely have to call in to listen to a message.
Now, like many speech-to-text tools it has limitations. If there is a lot of background noise behind the caller, they have heavy accent or tend to speak quickly, the conversion might not be as comprehensive as you’d like. However, it does give me a good gist of what the call is about and if it requires my immediate attention. If I really need additional details from the message, I’ll check the audio at a later time.
Google Voice reduces the time I spend checking voice mail messages from a daily occurrence to something that happens less than once a week. What more could I really want for free? Read more about it on the Google Voice Blog.