Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Google Voice-- did you sign up yet?

I'm doing my best to figure out Google Voice, but it looks amazing! You can have ONE phone number, provided by Google, that will ring as many different phones as you like. You can screen calls based on the caller's phone number, and set customized greetings, or send them directly to voicemail.

Even better-- you can get a text transcription of your voicemails, and forward them to SMS or your email. You can even download voicemails as mp3 files, or, as shown here, embed recordings on your blog!

There's so much to learn, but it looks very promising. Some folks I know on Twitter have had Google Voice since it was known as Grand Central, and they can't imagine being without it.

I'm trying to wrap my brain around the possible applications for the classroom. In addition to not having to give out your personal phone number to students and parents, you can record custom announcements, similar to a homework hotline, for students to listen to. Students could also record themselves and have Google Voice provide a text transcript for them automatically. Similar to many of the other services that are out there, Google Voice can be used to record a podcast that can be embedded on a classroom website.

Please share your ideas for using Google Voice in the comments section of my blog. Thanks for your input.


Otto said...

I also looked at Google Voice. I was worried about how it worked. Do you have to give up you're regular phone numbers?

Jim Dornberg said...

Otto, I'm still learning, but NO you don't give up your old numbers. You get a NEW number and that new number will ring ALL of your other phones, or as many as you want it to. You can also specify a time range, so that your work phone rings during certain hours, your cell and home phone could ring at other times during the day. You can screen your calls and send some directly to voicemail, you can even have different outgoing voicemail messages depending on who is calling!

It's just amazing, but, as you can imagine, a bit overwhelming at first, just like a lot of other Web 2.0 applications.

The Speech-to-text feature is probably the most interesting aspect. Your voicemails are transcribed to text, and can be sent to your email account, or texted to your cell if you would prefer.

COOL STUFF! Sign up, and wait a few weeks, and start your own account. I think you'll like it.

Otto said...

It sounds very interesting. I can't begin to tell you how difficult it was for me to embrace the concept of cell phones. Now I use a Blackberry. So, maybe I could also embrace Google Voice. I will keep looking into it.

Margie said...

I have never heard of Google Voice until I looked at your blog. I like the idea of using it to record a podcast for a class web site...even giving a recap of what classwork was completed, homework and upcoming work. I will take a look at it! I'm learning so much!!!!!