Google Voice and Your BlackBerry

Google Voice has finally gone public, and as a long time user of the service, I will let those of you who were not lucky enough to get an invite into the loop.  First off, go here to sign up for the service. It’s free. Then run over here to get it onto your BlackBerry. All set? Good. We’re ready to start.

For anyone who is not yet familiar with what Google Voice does, it is a way to use only one number no matter how many times you switch phones, or how many phones you have. It also provides a voicemail service, SMS service, and voicemail transcription service (still very iffy though, but improving) all available from your smartphone or the any computer’s browser. Yeah, it’s pretty sweet.

The BlackBerry App itself is very simple to use and is nicely integrated into the BlackBerry OS. Perhaps the coolest feature for a lot of users who send enormous amounts of text messages, is that you get your own SMS number that works over your phone’s data connection. Worried about going over your text message allotment? No worries, as long as you have a data plan, you won’t even need to use your regular number to send or receive texts. Although, MMS is not yet supported. In fact, a friend of mine has been tooling around with the beta version on his BlackBerry for nearly two months now and uses it exclusively to send and receive text messages. He even gets mad at me when I text his ‘real’ number.

I have been using the service for nearly two months now myself but have been using it in a different way. Google Voice has become my pseudo-landline basically. I set my preferences so that when someone calls my Google Voice number, it does not forward the call to my phone but instead just takes a voicemail with a custom greeting that I set up. It’s great if you want to put your number out there for people to contact you but are worried about having to constantly be getting calls and voicemails on your mobile from people you may not know or want to speak with. It can even be configured to make people identify themselves and give you the option of taking the call or letting it go to voicemail. A Google powered secretary lite anyone?

So what are you waiting for? Run out and sign up for the service. Gmail is now one of the best free email options available, and Google Voice is looking to do the same thing—that is, making voicemail and SMS sexy again. Tell me how you use the service, I’m a huge fan.

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