Why, oh why didn’t I buy stock back when Google was just a little start-up company? It was considered start-up at one time, yes? I always say the computer and I are on a need to know basis, but Google goes a long way in making me appear tech-savvy.
I admit, I held out for quite awhile thinking there was no way Gmail could be as safe as pulling AOL or MSN into Outlook. What if they lost my e-mail or even worse, what if someone at Google might be hacking into my Gmail trying to discover all those state secrets I don’t know? I realized equating the internet (more specifically Gmail) with the likes of the boogie man was merely a figment of my imagination, and those lurking creatures on the world wide web are about as dangerous as the ones under my bed. So I turned my soul over to Google, because they keep creating all these wonderful applications (for lack of a better term) that not only make me look tech-savvy, they actually make my life easier.
IGoogle is my homepage because it gives me easy access to everything I need on the web in one place. Gmail is way more than just e-mail since I can also IM (instant message), and voice or video chat in real time. Google Calendar sends me e-mail reminders as well as SMS (text) which beats post-it notes everywhere, so I’m not late returning a book to the library, paying a bill or miss a hair appointment that was pre-booked six weeks earlier. Google Docs comes in handy with no MSWord on my Mac, and since I don’t have Photo Shop, I rely on Google Images (how do you think I get all the pictures for this blog).
If you’ve somehow resisted the pull towards technology, they may just get you with Google Voice. When I recently moved I dropped the land line (hard line, home phone, or whatever you want to call it), because I was paying for a service I rarely used. Of course every time I have to fill out some type of form, it always asks for two numbers and I can’t help but wonder if I’m looked down upon for having only one.
No more! As of last night I am back in the ranks of the two phone number family. I heard about Google Voice several months ago, but after my friend got me all excited about this new service he then told me they weren’t handing out any new numbers. It was kind of cruel to cause me to have Google envy when he knew there was no quick fix, but I did my research (yes, I Googled it) and found I could ask to be notified when they opened the service to the minions.
I think I replied to the invitation last night before it even had time to really register as being in my inbox. There were lots of choices but picking a number was easy. Something similar to my cell number so it would be easy to remember. When I plugged in the same last four digits with the same area code there was only one option that fit my two parameters, so I’m guessing it’s kind of like claiming my vanity URL on Facebook. First come, first serve.
Within minutes of starting to set things up on Google Voice, I knew the next thing I needed to do was get the word out and not keep this latest greatest piece of technology to myself. Tweeting the link that simultaneously updated my Facebook status was the quickest way to tell everyone they too need to get an invite (you can’t get a number without one). The further I got into the set-up of my new account, I knew the topic of my next blog post would be to tell everyone about it in more than 140 characters.
I love Google Voice, let me count the ways:
- It’s FREE, you have nothing to lose by checking it out.
- I now have another number and I can choose to hand it out as my home or business line.
- It has voicemail that let’s you record a personal greeting for each specific contact (if you choose). I’ve done a couple just because it’s pretty nifty for someone to feel so loved when they call me.
- You can screen calls and even listen in when they’re leaving a message, just like the old answering machines. If you want you can interrupt and take the call once you know it’s not a telemarketer or stalker.
- Should you get creepy callers (I imagine this could be the perfect number to give someone you meet on match or pof, um, not that I would actually know). You can block them if you change your mind and even have a recording play that says, “this number has been disconnected and is no longer in service”.
- The voicemails are transcribed and sent to you via e-mail. It’s pretty funny what the computer thinks you’re saying and I can listen to the message by clicking on the play link in my e-mail. Don’t even actually need my phone. Saves my cell minutes!
- I can send SMS (text) messages from my computer which is great for all those people who aren’t “in” my Verizon network.
- You can have it ring one, or more numbers. The person calling doesn’t know you’re actually answering your cell, at work, or home because they dial your Google Voice number.
- You can have it go straight to voicemail so it doesn’t ring at all.
- You can even record entire conversations, which could come in handy if George Clooney ever calls me!