For the true Google purist who uses both Google Voice and Google Chrome, the new Google Voice extension for Google Chrome is just for you. The Google Voice extension won’t revolutionize the way you use Google Voice, but it does have a few groovy features that make life a little bit easier. The way I see it, it’s a bit like Gmail Notifier—but for Voice.
Here’s what you get:
- Google Voice button on the toolbar which displays your unread voice and text messages in your inbox.
- Quick access to recent message, transcripts and voicemails.
- Audible alerts for when you receive a new message.
- Free texting and SMS from the toolbar.
- Click-able phone numbers on webpages to initiate Google Voice calls.
Check out some of the screenshots below to see it in action.
This is what the Google Voice extension looks like after you install it. As you can see, I have 16 unread messages. Note: You do have to be logged in to your Google account and/or Google Voice for the Google Voice extension to work. It may take about 30 minutes for it to kick in after you log in.
Clicking the toolbar button brings up a little dialog box. By default, it will show your inbox, but you can change it (and other settings) by Clicking Options. You can either type in a number from memory, or you can begin typing the name of a contact and it’ll pop up in the suggestions box below. Then, choose which phone you’d like to call with (you already know how Google Voice works, I’m sure) and Click Connect.
Sending text messages is basically the same drill. Just Click the Text button and fire away.
Lastly, there’s the Inbox view. Here, you get a mini-version of your Google Voice inbox, along with transcripts, phone numbers, timestamps and the voicemail playback. You can respond by call or text and archive or delete each message. As you can see, text messages are included in your Inbox.
The last feature is the one that may give you some trouble, though so far, it’s worked fine for me. On any given website, phone numbers will be turned into links. Click a phone number to pull up a Google Voice call dialog. The issue with this feature is that, for one, it gets overridden by the Skype extension (which does primarily the same thing with phone numbers) and secondly, that it causes Chrome to fail the Acid3 Test. I haven’t yet encountered any websites where the Google Chrome extension interferes with web page rendering, however. Plus, Google is aware of the issue and promises a 100/100 on the test after the next major release.
Overall, the Google Voice Chrome extension is fairly nice. Unobtrusive, easy to use and the sound alerts for new messages is a nice touch, too.