When I first heard that Google Voice had come to the iPhone, I found myself thinking “so what?” I don’t use it on the desktop; why care now? Then I remembered that Google Voice did offer some cool features that my mobile carrier wasn’t offering. Bundle this with the ability to call folks both for free and with the option of receiving transcribed voicemail, Google Voice on the iPhone as a real app suddenly becomes pretty darned attractive.
Here is where it gets really interesting. I can call people either using my real cell number or, instead, my Google Voice number. I love this as I might want to speak with someone without disclosing my real phone number — changing a permanent number is a pain. If I need to change my Google Voice number, it’s not big deal and fairly easy to do.
The app itself comes with the kinds of stuff you’d expect: push notifications for voicemail and SMS, decent call quality, and of course Google’s take on visual voicemail. It’s a pretty good setup, even when compared to stuff like Skype. Unfortunately, the lack of video calls was disappointing and left me wondering why this was left out. While it’s not a deal breaker, it would be cool as not everyone in the universe has the same iPhone I do and can participate in FaceTime.
So was it worth it to install the software? Keeping in mind that I was connected to Wi-Fi as my 3G connection is horrid inside my house, I am going to say yes. I could not tell an audible different between a call placed with the Google Voice app and a “real” phone call. Best of all, both calls were not counting against my monthly minutes. Should I opt to use the Google app, however, I could very well lessen my phone plan to lower my minutes and use Google a whole lot more. Hmm, now that holds some real practical value!