I ported my cell number to Google Voice a little over a week ago. Since then, I’ve been on a business trip, where I relied heavily on my various mobile connections. Here are my impressions of Google Voice, after a week as an all-in user.
The most positive development is that my non-ringing cell phone problem has been resolved. I don’t know if it resolved itself on its own, or if my numerous calls to ATT and online SOS’s to Google were answered. All I know is that my cell phone seems to ring, which is pretty important to the whole mobile experience.
Now, about the general Google Voice experience
Receiving calls works beautifully. I love getting emails and text messages when I miss a call, the way I can listen to voice mails right from Gmail, and the way voice mails are transcribed. Yes, the transcriptions of hit and miss, and occasionally hilarious, but you can almost always get the gist of the message, if not the subtleties.
The Quick Dial screen within the Google Voice iPhone app is very helpful, with your chosen list and a list of recent calls.
In sum, the inbound calling part of Google Voice is just about perfect.
The Not Quite As Good
Outbound calls are a little more kludgy. When you make an outbound call, your cell phone first dials a Google Voice number (I seem to dial out to a 313 area code a lot), and your call, showing your Google Voice number on Caller ID, is then forwarded to the number you are calling. There’s nothing about this that doesn’t work- it’s just a little weird. I wish there was a way to call your Google Voice number and then get forwarded from there.
I have noticed the occasional lag when talking over Google Voice. It’s not horrible and is not a reason to avoid the service, but it is noticeable at times.
I like the call screening feature, but I haven’t figured out a way to use it when my phone is connected via Bluetooth in my truck. I end up trying to wrestle my phone out of my pocket, so I can press 1 to accept the call before it goes to voicemail. I may have to disable call screening.
The biggest hole I have found in the Google Voice experience is the inability to click on a phone number in an email or text message and have the number dialed via Google Voice. Many of the numbers I dial are contained in emails or text messages. When you click on a number that way, it is dialed with your actual cell phone number, and not your Google Voice number. There may not be a way around this, but it is an issue if you want to keep your actual cell number secret, so people will use your Google Voice number. And even more so after you’ve ported the number that everyone knows to Google Voice.
Would I Do It Again?
So, knowing what I know now, would I still port my long-time cell number to Google Voice?
It’s sort of a tough call. I really don’t like the kludginess of making calls, particularly the inability to click on a number and dial via Google Voice. On the other hand, there is a lot to love about the all-in Google Voice experience.
I think I’d do it again. In no small part because I believe Google Voice is a work in progress that will get better and better. At some point- and I hope it’s sooner rather than later- I expect Google will become a direct carrier.
I hope so. Sign me up Google, I’m ready.