When you register with Google Voice, the free virtual receptionist service, you get a phone number that you can use to make and record calls, receive voicemails and texts, and forward to any and all of your regular numbers.It also provides a host of features that could make it invaluable to the digital journalist.
1. Easily record interviews. No special equipment needed. Just press a button and Google Voice starts recording. Press stop and your call is saved as an MP3 file that is playable on virtually any computer, iPod or Blackberry.
2. Get rough transcriptions of all your phone interviews. Not super accurate, but a perfectly acceptable backup to your handwritten notes.
3. Save voicemails as MP3s. Send voicemails from phone to phone or save with your story notes. This also means you can save a virtually unlimited number of voicemails and forward the voicemails to co-workers in other departments.
4. Use Google search on all your calls. If you use the free transcription service, all your voicemails and recorded interviews become as searchable as text.
5. Free domestic calls and almost free international calls. Never have to get clearance to call Egypt again.
6. Assign your contacts to groups. This means you can forward calls from friends and family to your home phone while routing others to your voicemail. You can also set up separate voicemail greetings for sources and co-workers and block calls from stalkers, if necessary.
7. Create rules specificying when and where you receive your calls. Want to receive calls at the office until 5pm, route to mobile from 5-7pm and route to voicemail after 7pm? No problem. Want separate rules for family? Done.
The service is free to anyone with a Gmail email address (also free), so it’s well worth trying out. Let us know in the comments what you think.