Tested Google Voice today and am loving it!

Google Voice Call MeYeah, I received my first Google Voice phone number, or GV # in short, in my Gmail account today. Logged onto the GV home site and began testing it right away. The startup was as easy as 1-2-3: recorded my name, a personalized greeting and forwarded my calls to my cell phone number. (I questioned myself whether I was making the right move – making myself accessible to anybody wherever, whenever with a single phone number.) But oh well, I took the step of faith and have been relishing the cool features and new web-voice experience since then. 

Besides given a global phone number (with a local area code and a choice list of some dozens of phone numbers), I can make unlimited calls for free from the GV #. Friends and colleagues can also make unlimited calls to this same number. What’s cool about it is that now I can really screen calls. Phone numbers are actually read to me and the system alerts me of any incoming call and asks if I want to accept or decline it or transfer to VM. (Personal assistance at its best!) Love it.

Here’s more. One feature I haven’t quite started using yet though I know it’ll come in handy one day, and that is I can tag spam callers and block them out from all future calls and voicemails. No more “Sorry, wrong number” callers or spammers. Spammers will get filtered into a spam folder and Google will run spam reports across all users to identify global spammers and block them out once-and-for-all. Love it! 

As if that’s not cool enough, voice messages get transcribed and can be read (or listened to) online anywhere, anytime, saving me tons of “checking voicemail” airtime fees. Love it!

As I checked the “Discussions” tab, I realize some users are experiencing a few serious bugs. Just like any new product and technology, bugs affect user experience and leave some users feeling “duped”. (You should read some of the threads – some sound peculiarly offended on an amusingly personal level…as if they’ve forgotten they didn’t pay a dime for this new technology nor were they coerced to use it.) For me, everything is still as cool as school. And if I get hit by a bug, I’ll do what needs to be done like any new product peer tests – report the bug to get it fixed. If it doesn’t, I’ll just move on – continue to use it if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, or simply drop it. For me, chances are I’ll stick with it and await improved experience. 

After all, ain’t that the spirit of open source and peer production. Everybody pitches in to tweak and refine, ride out the storm and reach a better place together.

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