Google Voice Opens the Flood Gates Today

Services for Real Estate Pros with Rentec Direct Property Management Software

google voice

Many of us have been eagerly anticipating Google Voice to open their doors for months. According to the Official Google Blog, invites are on their way this morning. Invitations are being sent out on a first come first serve platter similar to how gmail was handled years back.  Get in line here.

How is Google going to help us manage our phone contacts, and should we use it?

google voicemailVoicemail Transcription - I'll start with my favorite anticipated feature.  Google's answer to Apple's visual voicemail.  They up the ante and transcribe your voicemails into text for you and provide them online, and forward them via email or SMS.  No longer is it required we login to our phones and punch in our secret code to listen to the voicemail only to jot the notes down on a notepad.  Google eliminates this step and I am really excited about this.  How well will it work?

Integration with existing phones - It will work with all of your existing phones.  Tell Google Voice about your office number, cell number, and home number.  It can then intelligently route calls or text messages based on your rules any contact to any or all of those numbers, read on..

Call Routing - We all have that client that calls us three times a day with pretty silly requests right?  We sometimes feel a bit guilty letting it ring until it hits voicemail?  No more!  Google voice can be programmed to forward any contact wherever you want.  Automatically route a specific contact to your assistant, direct to voicemail, or to a different phone.  When the kids call it can ring all phones at once, or cycle through all phones, or push them directly to voicemail.  New caller not in your address book, Google says they will take the callers name and announce them to you prior to you picking up the call (it's still ringing on their end), and give you the choice of what to do with them prior to picking up the call.

Record Calls - With a touch of a button you can start recording a call for playback later.  Highly useful when driving (wait, we don't talk on the phone when we're driving do we?) and don't want to also be taking notes.  Click the record button and access the call any time.

Google has short videos and demonstrations of all these features (and oogles more) at the Google Voice website.

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Second thoughts - Is it worth it?

Ads - Google provides so much for "free" including search, email, etc.  Phone service is just another one of their free items.  That's great, but they have to make their billions somehow.  There will be ads!  In typical google tradition, probably few at first, but count on lots of ads in the future.  I'll admit though, google has been pretty good at being fairly unobtrusive with ads, so this may not be a huge issue.

New Phone Number - Google Voice claims they will support LNP (porting your existing numbers) in the future; however, right now they don't.  This means a new phone number is in your future if you want to use Google Voice features.  It doesn't cost anything from Google; however, it means getting your new number to all your clients.

Lock In / Lock Out - Once Google has you, they have you.  Especially if you use one of their numbers.  Nobody has experienced this yet, but often moving away from a phone provider is far more difficult than moving to them.  There are laws which protect phone numbers you LNP into Google when they support that and that should allow you to move them off Google if you choose; however, there's no such stated requirement for numbers Google provides that I am aware of.  Additionally, if you do something that Google doesn't like they can, if they wish, immediately terminate the service causing an instant loss of the phone number.

Trust in Google - With Google now transcribing voicemails into text, and recording calls in their worldly connected data centers it opens up the possibility of that data being hacked or obtained by other sources.  What would happen if your entire contact list, your last years worth of voicemails and SMSs all became public?  While this is unlikely, as Google runs a pretty tight ship; it is a possibility, and you can be certain there are thousands of hackers attempting to gain access daily.  Will they ever succeed?

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What's the harm?

All said, I'm going to try it out as soon as I get my invite.  I'll take their freebie number and try it out with a few friends or family and see how it goes before passing final judgement.  All in all, I'm pretty excited.  Mostly about the transcribed voicemail.  If that works, it will save me and our office a lot of time.

p.s.  If anybody has received their invite yet, I want to hear about it.  Please comment.


--- about the author ---

Nathan is a member of Rentec Direct who provides property management software, tenant ach payment processing, and Rentec credit reports

Comments (65)

Raj Dhaliwal
Century 21 Coastal Realty Ltd. - Abbotsford, BC
Personal Real Estate Corporation

I had a Grandcentral account which is now Google voice. Its pretty cool product but it only offers US numbers for now. So I cant use it for my real estate business in Canada.

Jun 27, 2009 10:02 AM
Fred Light
| Nashua Video Tours - Nashua, NH
Real Estate Video Tours for MA and NH

I received mine...   looks good so far!

Jun 27, 2009 12:20 PM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Good Luck to all of you.  I believe I will do just fine without the early version...if I was any easier to would have to be standing next to me. 

I actually am thinking abut going the opposite but I can live with silent ring on my current phone and I have survived just fine without a blackberry.

So to Google...thanks but no thanks for this guy...but I wish you all well!

Jun 27, 2009 03:14 PM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

I just can't give up my phone number. It has been the same for 15 years, as has my email address. I have past clients call me and even though I am with a new company they find me.

If it wasn't for that...I'd be there as  I am a advocate for all things Google.

Jun 28, 2009 12:58 AM
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

Once they get number portability I might be interested in this service.

Jun 28, 2009 02:16 AM
Tatyana Sturm
Exit Realty DTC - Aurora, CO
Denver Realtor, GRI, Denver/ Aurora CO Relocation

I would love to hear how your trial goes and what your thoughts are.  I would need to keep my own number though, I have had the same number for years.

Jun 28, 2009 03:05 AM
Jon Sigler
Coldwell Banker Realty - South Windsor, CT
South Windsor Homes for Sale 860-306-8029

I got this when it was GrandCentral, not sure how I was ablt but I got an invite.  It did amazing things then.  Now that it has been fully brought under the Google umbrella it does more amazing things.  It has one weakness, the ability to port a number in.  I'm not interested in starting to promote another number, so until they allow port in, it will remain a toy for me with amazing potential.

Jun 29, 2009 02:59 AM
Andrea "Andy" Tolbert
HD Realty - Sanford, FL
Broker, Safety Expert, Instructor

One idea... we use VOIP and we can log into our account and forward it to any other number... maybe "test-forward" your existing number to the new google number to see how it works out!

Jun 29, 2009 05:08 AM
Trela Bird
Urban Utah Homes & Estates - Salt Lake City, UT
Realtor, Salt Lake City Utah

Will prob wait for LNP before trying it out

Jul 02, 2009 04:02 PM
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Just tweeted  by @GoogleVoice

"Just launched the ability to change your Google Voice number. Your old number stays active for 90 days. Just go to Settings > Phones.

well I guess not just tweeted ... 22 hours ago... I never knew to follow GoogleVoice on Twitter.  I saw something about it on Friend Feed

Jul 03, 2009 12:36 AM
Sandra Scott
DPR Realty - Payson, AZ
REALTOR of Choice! Payson, Pine & Strawberry, AZ

Thanks for the information....boggles the mind doesn't it?

Jul 04, 2009 05:30 PM
Ginger Moore
Wilkinson & Associates Realty - Gastonia, NC

nice blog. thanks for sharing. I signed up.  

Jul 12, 2009 03:21 AM
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

I have been a fan of Google products thus far and had received my invite.


Jul 13, 2009 09:02 AM
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL


Have you passed judgment on Google Voice yet? Inquiring minds, that have received their invitations, want to know :)


Jul 20, 2009 11:02 AM
Nathan M
Rentec Direct Property Management Software - Grants Pass, OR
President (Rentec Direct)

I actually just got my invites this week and haven't had a chance to signup yet.  I will be sure to come back and give a short review after I try it out.  It's been one of *those* weeks though!

Jul 20, 2009 11:21 AM
Nathan M
Rentec Direct Property Management Software - Grants Pass, OR
President (Rentec Direct)

As promised, I just posted a detailed review of my findings of Google Voice.  It's not so short though.  It is far too much to just put in a comment here.  Please have a look over here:  Followup and Detailed Review of Google Voice

Jul 31, 2009 03:37 AM
Robert L. Brown - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

I've recently got the invite. Sounds good too. maybe i will wait for others to check it out first and report back to the group.

Jan 19, 2010 02:12 AM
Andrew Monaghan
The Monaghan Group - Glendale, AZ
CRS, GRI, EPro Associate Broker

How good is the transcription?

Feb 28, 2010 05:08 AM
Nathan M
Rentec Direct Property Management Software - Grants Pass, OR
President (Rentec Direct)

Its gotten a lot better lately.  I'd say its about 90%.  Easily good enough to get the conversation from the text.  Only infrequently do I have to listen to the message to clear up a mistake.

Feb 28, 2010 06:07 AM
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Jul 24, 2012 02:54 AM