10 Tips for Supercharging Google Voice by Device Gadget

Forum Post by mamaoyot from http://devicegadget.com/

Take your Google Voice experience from VoIP to VIP with these hidden feature

1. Calls within Gmail

Recently, Google made it possible to make and receive voice calls right from within Gmail-yes, you can use your Google Voice number without needing to be anywhere near a phone. To get started, log in to Gmail and locate the Chat box in the left-hand sidebar. You should see a new contact called Call Phone; click it.

A small box pops up on the right side of your Gmail window displaying a dial pad, and you may be prompted to download and install a voice plug-in. Then, from the dial pad, you can dial a friend or type in a name from your Google contact list, all without a phone in sight.

2. Text Message

Bite-sized text messages are sometimes easier or more convenient than emails and phone conversations, but adding them to your data plan can be expensive, and if you go over your plan’s limit, you’re in for a world of hurt. Fortunately, smartphone users have a way around all that. Just sign in to voice.google.com in your phone’s web browser to see the dialer. Then tap the New Message button, and type in phone numbers or choose contacts from your address book. Type the text message’s body in the Message box. Responses to your texts land in your Gmail inbox. Tapping a message shows all the messages in that thread. You can then reply by text, call back, or archive the message by tapping the appropriate buttons at the bottom of the page all without spending a dime! Emails from Google Voice let you know whether or not a message is urgent.

3. Voicemail Transcriptions

When someone calls your Google Voice number, the voicemail can be automatically transcribed into text, then emailed to you. To turn this useful feature on, choose Settings > Voice Settings from the menu in the upper-right corner of voice.google.com. Next, select the Voicemail And Text tab. Under Voicemail Notifications, check the box labeled “Email the message to,” and select the appropriate email account. You can also add a different email address, or have Google Voice send you a text message when you get a new voicemail. Then, under the Voicemail Transcripts section, check the box labeled Transcribe Voicemails, then click Save Changes. Now, whenever someone calls your Google Voice number and leaves a message, you’ll receive an email with a transcription of what the person said and a link that lets you listen to the actual voicemail. The transcription system doesn’t always get the words right, but it’s sort of fun to try and guess what the person actually said. The ease of blocking calls means you never have to repeatedly ignore solicitors or exes.

4. Block Calls

Google makes it extremely simple to block people from calling your Google Voice number. From any recent call, text message, or voicemail, simply select the More option, then “Block caller.” A pop-up window asks if you’re sure, and you can preview the message that blocked callers will hear when trying to call you. Note that this feature will only block calls to your Google Voice number. If someone knows your actual home or cell number, they can still call it.
All blocked calls, voicemails, and text messages end up in the Spam folder in your Google Voice account. To remove a block, visit the Spam section, select the More option again, and choose “Unblock caller.” This will restore the messages to your inbox and unblock the caller. The ease of blocking calls means you never have to repeatedly ignore solicitors or exes.

5. Customized Greetings

With Google Voice, you can have different voicemail greetings for different callers. For example, when a work contact calls, they can get a more professional greeting, but your friends or family calls can get something silly. You do this by specifying Groups for your different contacts. Go to Settings > Groups, and use the Manage Groups link to edit groups and contacts. When you’ve finished creating your groups, return to the Groups settings and click the Edit button under the appropriate group. The Edit page lets you set which phones incoming calls from that groups’ contacts are forwarded to, and under the section labeled “When people in this group go to voicemail,” you can select or record a new voicemail greeting. Once you have it sorted, remember to click the Save button.
Recordings are all saved under the you guessed it Recorded tab.

6. Record Calls

Occasionally, you may want to record calls for reference or other non-nefarious reasons, and Google Voice can happily oblige. Simply press 4 anytime during the call. When you want to stop the recording, press 4 again (a voice will note whether or not the call is being recorded).
Note that Google does not allow you to record calls that you make, only calls you receive. Keep in mind that state and federal laws apply to recording phone calls, so proceed at your own risk. After you finish the call, the recording will be available in the Recorded section of the sidebar on voice.google.com. You can listen to a previously recorded call by clicking the small Play button located underneath the date and timestamp information. Embedding voicemails on your website is as easy as embedding YouTube videos.

7. Embed Recordings

Google Voice lets you embed voicemail and recorded calls onto any webpage, just as you would with a YouTube video. Simply navigate to any voicemail or recorded call and choose Embed from the More drop-down menu. This pops up a box with the embed code, and you can even add a caption if you like.
When might this come in handy? A (rare) over-the-phone engagement, a crank call to the local pizza joint, or if someone posts a celebrity’s phone number on the internet and you want to prove to all the world that, yes, you did indeed talk to Dylan McDermott on the phone for half a second. The Do Not Disturb setting lets you forward calls right to voicemail without shutting your phone off.

8. Set Up a Virtual PBX

A PBX (Private Branch Exchange) is the lifeline of many companies, but not everyone can afford the luxuries that these phone systems can provide, such as extensions, multiple voicemail boxes, and so on. With Google Voice, you can create your own virtual PBX system. After you register all of your (personal or company) phones, each time someone calls, all available phones will begin to ring. By pressing the star (*) key, you can transfer the call to any of the other phones connected to your PBX. When the business day ends, you can enable Google Voice’s Do Not Disturb feature (under Settings > Calls), which will automatically send all calls to voicemail, without ringing any of the phones. You can also set the Do Not Disturb to expire in a specifi ed amount of minutes, hours, or days. When you’re done adjusting your settings, always remember to save.

9. Integrate with Other Phone Systems

There are a handful of instances in which you might need a phone number, but don’t necessarily want to give out your personal digits. Google Voice not only supplies a new number to give to people on Craigslist, it has hundreds of other uses. Online editor Roberto Baldwin, for example, uses Google Voice to control his apartment doorbell system. When someone buzzes the doorbell, it rings all the phones linked to his Google Voice account, allowing him to answer and buzz someone into his apartment no matter where he is. Try doing that with a regular phone number. Plus, he can turn off forwarding when he doesn’t want to be disturbed. Creating call widgets is hugely beneficial and thanks to Google Voice, it couldn’t be easier.

10. Create Call Widgets

If you run an online business or just want people to have a quick way to get in touch with you, a call widget on your website can help. To embed a call widget, click the “Add a new Call Widget” link under Settings > Call Widgets. Next you’ll specify a name and style for the widget, as well as choose whether you want your phone to ring or to send the call straight to voicemail. You can also select a greeting or set Google Voice to ask callers for their name when calling.
When you click the Save button, you’ll be given the embed code. You can place this code anywhere on your website, just as you would embed a voicemail or YouTube video. When someone clicks this button in your Call Widget, they’ll be asked to enter their phone number, and Google Voice will connect the two calls.