I’ve started to take advantage of Google Voice, which is a web application that Google created that would allocate you a phone number that runs through the application and forwards to your phone. I know what the readers are saying right now… yeah, AND?
Well, the upside is that:
1) Everything is recorded digitally at something far more reliable than a cell phone… on the Google Voice site.
2) Easy to control phone numbers you don’t want to recieve by labeling them SPAM
3) Multiple phones can recieve a call that comes to the one Google Voice number
4) If your service or phone has issues, Google Voice is there to catch the call and take a voicemail message.
5) for those calls that don’t have a caller id (or it’s blocked), Google Voice prompts the caller to say their name, then prompts you as you answer the call whether you wish to accept the call.
I use Cricket Wireless as my cell provider, and I have the $40 plan. (named Cricket Plan 45 because it used to be $45) When I got the plan, it said “Call Forwarding” as one of the features. You’d figure a “feature” would mean something that is available without doing anything extra. Alas, logic is too much to ask.
If you are a Cricket Wireless customer and trying to forward calls from your Google Voice to your phone, you need to activate call forwarding through the mycricket.com website. Go into “my account”, and view the features active on your account. You should see “call forwarding” in the lineup. If not, you’ll have to do what I did. Add the add-on 🙂 It says $5.00, but when you select it and add it in, you see the cart as $0.00.
After doing that, I was able to dial *74xxxxxxxxxx and *73********** (the asterisks are my phone number), and not hear the error message.
That being said, I’ve had bad luck with the outgoing calls through m.google.com/voice but not too bad through voice.google.com on a computer. It’s cool, the app calls your phone, rings and connects to the other side, with Google as a proxy. The sound was about the same, with no real noticable difference.
I’m going to experiment with Opera mobile browser on m.google.com/voice and see how it works out. As it stands, it’s a great incoming voice application along with SMS texting.
I’ve dialed *730 to disable *73 features, which apparently made it so I couldn’t contact Cricket voicemail by dialing my own number. After doing that, I found that if I dial my Google Voice number from my Cricket phone, I have a verbal command center where I can press a number to dial through Google Voice along with voicemail setup and other things. I set my Google Voice number as a speed-dial so I can do it quickly.
ADDITION June 25, 2010:
After looking high and low for a Blackberry Storm Google Voice application, I ran across one that works marvelously. It’s name is “Cardkaller” (http://www.cardkaller.com), and it was originally created to be a calling card dialer so you could just use your contact list and dial it through the calling card automatically. It was originally made for thaqt purpose, however the author of the application saw that a lot of people wanted it for Google Voice use, so he filled that gap. It’s $19, but has a 90-day trial period that I am using now to test it out. So far, it works great as a dialer, and I thought I’d let others know about it. Of course there are alternatives, but I was able to try this one out without buying it first… unlike Worlddailer, which used to be called Berrydialer, and costs $10.. and requires you to buy it before trying it. Shareware software in the 90’s burned me out of that thought pattern…
ADDITION August 7, 2013:
I’ve been using Talkatone on my iPad 3 & new iPad mini (replacement for iPad 3), and it works marvelously with Google Voice (both voice & texting). I have AT&T LTE data on my iPad (3Gb/monthly) and I’ve yet to have any issues with data overages. Granted, it’s not quite as good as having a cell phone when your out in the middle of nowhere and have only cell service with no data, but that’s alright with me. I personally like it because it’s $30/month, and I can multitask on the iPad as I talk… i.e. able to get to data during the phone call with barely any lag. I like it so much I bought it’s yearly license.