There’s been an ongoing Forum thread on my GrandCentral migration to Google Voice and this morning when I got to work I logged into GrandCentral and was pleasantly surprised that my account was now ready for migration to Google Voice!
Of course I quickly clicked the UPGRADE button and was redirected over to Google voice. Ok.. So far so good. Ah, a terms of service agreement… You all know how I love the Google TOS so let’s read it
Not groovy… Not a good way to kick things off with a new user… I’m guess Google already know that their TERMS link https://www.google.com/voice/terms is broken however until they fix it, you can find it by going here: http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS. Unfortunately, the TERMS is still the same old Google Terms of Service which grants Google WAY to many rights but that’s for a different article…
Ok so anyway, I finally make it into my new Google Voice account. As I expected, it looks a lot like GMAIL and most other Google services. Here’s a few shots of the main pages.
Google Voice Home Page
Google Voice Settings Page
Google Voice Help Page
Overall the service works just like it did before the migration. I tried the Call Recording feature and it worked without problems (however you can only record people who call you) as well as the Conference Calling feature (limited to 4 people). Again, thigns seemed to work well except for the service still feels beta as there are still a lot of limitations regarding when you can use this feature or that feature depending on if you made the call through the service (from the Google Voice website) or received the call on your Google Voice #.
Things I liked
- The Voicemail options are very nice. Not only can you reply to them via calling them or SMS but you are also given several other COOL options: Email, Download, Embed (see below) or Block Caller. Pretty groovy.
Here’s an example of using the Embed feature from Google Voice. Just plop the Embed code into blog post or Site and TADA!
- Recording calls was nice. Again, same options as listed above once the calls show-up in your Recorded Calls Submenu.
- Multi-Phone ring worked as advertised. Both my Mobile phone and Work phone rang for incoming calls.
- Contacts is linked to GMAIL so it’s easy to pull in Numbers and People into Google Voice.
- Free 1.00 Credit Balance :)
- And of course the Widgets (see below). This allows you put put a “Call Me” button or link on your Website to allow people/customers to call you. I’m thinking this COULD be a possible cost saver to pull LD costs out of your biz costs..? Personally I’m looking forward to the Vista Widget I can just pop into my Vista Sidebar and make calls quickly and listen to voicemail. I’m sure it will be out soon.
- 3 out of 5 people I called using the service complained about an echo when they spoke. This occurred during calls I initiated using Google Voice and calls I received. Hopefully that’s just a temporary thing.
- Another problem I ran into was trying to get the Switching Phones during an incoming call feature. I tried to get this working about about 10 minutes however it just would not work. I tried the feature with calls where I Initiated the call through Google Voice as well as with calls I received with my Google Voice number. Each time, no dice… I pressed the * but nothing happened. Buggy…
- UI is honestly a little confusing. I spent a few minutes looking FEATURES page before I clicked on HELP and found it.
- Broken TOS Link
I think the service has a lot of potential however it still feels very beta. I’m uncertain what Google has been working on for 18 months as this first version really feels incomplete and in regards to the UI, they have taken a step back from the GrandCentral experience. Honestly, from my 30 minute review of the service, I can confidently say it’s a let down and unfortunately, not worth all the Hype. I’m hoping this is one of several releases of Google Voice and in the coming months we see a tighter integration of the service into GMAIL, Google Talk etc… I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. ;)
Anyone else out there get their GrandCentral account updated? What are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree?