Google Voice got its start as a phone service called GrandCentral, which the search giant bought in 2007
- Powerful suite of communications tools, free, you won't need to install software to get started
- Uses a US number, invite only, configuration options can be confusing at times
Google Voice has so many features that we've barely scratched the surface of what it can do. Is it worth trying? Absolutely. Since it's free, you've got nothing to lose by giving it a whirl.
Google Voice: Cool Call Recording
If you need to record calls for personal or business use, Google Voice is a great alternative to physical recorders that attach to a phone line. (And it's cheaper too.) To begin recording a call, simply press 4 on your phone. Once the call is complete, you can listen to the recording in Google Voice, which also saves a copy of the audio file.
This feature raises privacy concerns, of course. Depending on where you live, it may be illegal to record a call without the other party's knowledge. As a precaution, Google Voice plays a "Call recording on" message when the recording begins. When the recording stops, you hear "Call recording off".
We really like how Google implemented call recording. It's very easy to use, and the ability to archive recorded calls as you would voicemail messages is very convenient. There are some limitations, however. For instance, you can only record calls you receive on your Google Voice number. So if you get a work call that comes in via your regular business line, you can't record it. Also, you can't record calls that you initiate using Click2Call or the Return Call features on the Google Voice site.
Google makes headlines if it sneezes, so it isn't surprising that the company's latest announcement, a revision of a web app called GrandCentral now renamed Google Voice, has caught the attention of the webverse.
What is it? Google Voice, which is currently available only to former GrandCentral customers, is a free web-based application that lets you control all your various phone numbers - work, home, mobile, you name it - from a single, central phone number. And it adds most of the features of a PBX - call forwarding, voice mail, call recording - for free.
How does Google Voice work? The first thing you'll need to do is set up your own phone number. You can use any area code; we made mine a local number in an area code where we have a lot of friends and family.
That's pretty much it for the basic setup. With that number, you can access the kind of advanced features that would normally require either paying fees to your local phone company or setting up your own office PBX. For example, you can forward calls to up to six other phones, make free text messages and local phone calls, take voicemail messages and set up four-person conference calls.
You can also make calls using the Google/Gmail phone directory. And you can record incoming calls with a press of a button. This last feature is killer - Google, if you can just let us do that with outgoing calls too, we'll be friends for life.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Windows 10 S will not run Linux, even though it's a downloadable Windows app
- The Windows 10 Game Bar: What PC gamers need to know
- Microsoft redesigns OneNote UI to make it more universally accessible
- Windows 10 Insider build 16199 fills some holes in the Creators Update
- Google Assistant branches out, supporting third-party hardware and smarter features
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Huawei P10 smartphone review
- Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- Moto G5 smartphone: full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- FTIntegration SpecialistQLD
- CCReporting System Specialist - Port MacquarieNSW
- FTFull Stack Developer - JavaNSW
- TPPrimary Support Officer (Level 1)VIC
- FTFrontend DeveloperNSW
- FTJunior-Mid Level Implementation CoordinatorQLD
- FTDevops EngineerVIC
- TPSupport Engineer (Security Tools)VIC
- FTDIRECTOR PROJECT DELIVERY, WELLINGTONNZ
- FTBusiness Analyst- Wollongong, Loftus, Sutherland ShireNSW
- FTData ScientistACT
- TPICT Customer Support OfficerNSW
- FTSenior Business Analyst l GROUP LIFE INSURANCE l SydneyVIC
- CCInfrastructure Business AnalystNSW
- FTCapacity ManageSA
- FTFull Stack Developer - JavaNSW
- CCProject Manager Information ManagementQLD
- TPEOI - JAVA DeveloperACT
- TPProgram Governance Lead (PMO)VIC
- FTProgram SchedulerVIC
- FTProject Manager / Scrum MasterVIC
- FTSenior Solution Designer, Investment and Trading PlatformNSW
- FTSenior Software EngineerACT
- FTSenior Microwave Transmission EngineerNSW