I’ve been messing around with Google Voice for a while, so here is a little taste.Â Google Voice provides you with a free, local phone number and a lot of possibilities.Â The number, technically, isn’t connected to a single line.Â When someone calls your Google Voice number, it forwards the call to any number of phones you choose (up to six I think).Â I have mine set to ring my home phone and cell phone when someone calls my Google Voice number.Â You can also customize what phones ring when specific callers phone in, create custom messages for specific numbers,Â or set up group rules that apply to a number of callers.Â Even sweeter, is that your messages are organized like email and google provides a transcript of the spoken message.Â Though the transcripts are hit and miss, the ability to sort and save messages like email is a great feature.Â Best of all, it’s free.
There are a ton of other features that are part of google voice, but the one I’ve used most recently is the call recording feature.Â When you want to record a conversation with someone who has called your GV number, just press “4” and it records both sides.Â (Keep in mind, that both parties should consent to this before recording).Â This has been especially helpful as my students prepare for the Green Monkey Business Project.
As part of this project, they’ll have to call businesses in the community and ask them about their recycling habits.Â Over the past week or so, we’ve been practicing phone etiquette with role playing exercises.Â With Google Voice, students have been able to make real phone calls which we record and critique.Â One student calls from the school phone to my GV number while another student answers the call as Dave Winchester, manager of Tryon Enterprises. Listening to themselves on the phone has helped us identify areas to fix before we make the real phone calls and helps them get the nervousness out. As you can see from the phone message above, these conversations/messages are easily exported (as mp3s) or embedded into web pages.