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Guess who's got the Google voice app? Welcome to App Judgment Revision3’s mobile phone applications show. My name is Ron Richards and I have no shame in the fact that I use an Android phone, Android pride. Anyway, I was reading about all this hubbub about the Google voice application on the iPhone and remember that I have a Google voice account and then I thought to myself, “Wouldn't it be cool to have a Google Voice app for Android?” And well let's just say that Google is way smarter than me because when I went and looked in the Android marketplace sure enough there it was. Google voice for Android and it's free. Google Voice is a website offered by Google that allows you to create a phone number for yourself that allows you to route calls wherever you want. You can screen calls and block calls and they’ve got a great voice mail service that transcribe the voice mails and send you an email or text message with the text of the voice mail which is totally awesome. Recently they rolled out some new features including super chief international calling rates as some other neat features that make Google Voice a powerful application. You could check out all these features at Google.com/voice. The one drawback to the Google voice website was that it was a bit awkward to use on your phone especially for making calls. They have a mobile version of the site but that was hardly perfect but this new Android app for Google Voice turns your phone to a little box awesome. So in order to use the Google voice app you're going to need Google voice account. Unfortunately at the time this review, it's invite only but remember when Gmail is invite only more, more people we’re getting invites everyday so go to Google/voice sign up and wait patiently. Once you've been invited you'll need to set up your account and your phone number on the website. Then download the app and then install on your phone. After you’ve downloaded the app the first you run it the app will run you through the simple setup. It will ask you to identify the phone matching it to the phones you set up on the website. Then ask how you should handle calls to this phone. Options include using Google Voice for all calls which means that when you call from your cell phone it will appeared to the person you're calling that the number is your Google Voice number and your caller ID and not your actual cell phone number. But if you have the same cell phone number for years and don't want to cause confusion to people you're calling you may not want to choose this option. It would be great if Google allowed you to port your cell number to Google voice but as of right now it's not an option yet but there are rumors that it's coming. You can specify to have Google Voice only be used for international calls which is a great way to benefit from Google's low, low calling rates. The other two options are to have the phone asking if you want to use Google Voice before each call which I found to be a little annoying. Or not use Google Voice at all which kind of defeats the purpose of the app but it's a nice option to have I guess. They provided a neat shortcut that you can place on your phone's home screen to easily toggle between these various options for handling calls. Once you got your options set you're good to go. At first glance the app will be totally underwhelming. When you load it you'll see your Google Voice inbox, which right now maybe empty but as you use Google Voice it will fill up with SMS messages and voice mails. The inbox works in a similar way to Gmail with a familiar interface. The real power comes when you dial out. You'll see a little window that says you're using Google Voice and what's happening here is your phone is calling Google who then calls the person you're calling all behind the scenes. This makes accessing Google's ridiculously cheap international rates totally transparent to you. Now this is a void application but don't worry, call quality is indistinguishable from a regular cell phone and we're talking T-Mobile quality, not that AT&T crap. Google Voice also lets you send and receive SMS messages from your Google Voice number totally for free and boy do we love free. You can listen or read your voice mails from the Google Voice app which is great if you're like me and hate dialing in to check your voice mail. No, I know that iPhones had visual voicemail forever but this one's better because it transcribes the voice mail to text. The transcriptions are sometimes amusingly inaccurate but generally you get the gist of the message. The combination of the Google Voice account and the Google voice app is super powerful and can make your life much easier managing the way you get calls and save you some money in the process. So here's a breakdown on the pros and cons. Pros, transcribe voice mails and get them via email or SMS, free text messages, super cheap international calling rates. Cons, you can't port in existing number and you probably not saving money and domestic calls. This is one of my favorite App Judgments to make it’s a no brainier, download this app. If you have an Android phone which is already powered by Google you're going to make no sense not to sign up for a Google voice account and make your phone that much more powerful. Have any other application you think we should check out. Email us at AppJudgmentRevision3.com or go to Revision3.com/AppJudgment and post it in the forums. You can also see more of that Google voice there as well of our previous episodes. I'm Ron Richards and this was App Judgment and I'm going to make a call. I don't have service.
With hundreds of apps to choose from for your iPhone, Android or whatever smartphone you may have, how do know what's worth the download? AppJudgment is your source for mobile phone app reviews and previews!