Google Voice for Students (Immediate Invites)
Starting today, Google is targeting college students with a .edu email address for almost instant access to its latest service: Google Voice. Signup here with your email and Google will send you an activation link within a day for Google Voice instant activation.
If you haven't heard of Google Voice or want to know more, then keep reading. Google Voice was released near the end of 2009 with one purpose in mind: total control of the phone network. Essentially, Google wants to combine all of our phones, landline and cellular, onto one number for easier, more convenient management.
I signed up in January 2010 and have been using it ever since. As a college student, I have to admit that it is pretty darn amazing. Although I only have a cell phone, Google Voice still provides a Gmail-like interface for all of the work I do with phones: calls, text messages, voicemails, etc.
The feature of Google Voice that I use most often is probably voicemail transcribing. I was about fed up with Verizon's ten minute prompts every time I called my voicemail. I had to listen to "a message sent Friday, January 6th at 7:09 PM, from 555-555-5555, to listen to this message, press 1 now..." It was getting old. And, I was wasting minutes. So once I signed up for Google Voice, I was able to create custom voicemails for each person. If a friend called, they would hear "Hey, it's me, leave a message." If my parents called, they could hear a more personalized message. The options go on from here. But the most important feature was that I no longer needed to listen to my carriers purposefully slow voicemail prompts. Instead, every word of a message that people leave me is conveniently recorded as both voice and text, and the text is sent to me via SMS. I can then read, as a text message, what the people said in the message. If I want, I can call my voicemail and listen to it there too. Or, I can even log on to the online interface and listen to it on my computer.
Some other features include an excellent Android app, and mobile version of the site for iPhones (Apple blocked the Google Voice App). In addition, people can even text your Google number and it will be stored online, where you can reply to it, and/or sent to your phone via standard text or the Android app.
Google Voice is all around amazing. However, there are still a few issues. The transcribing is not perfect, and the call quality suffers at times. However, I have had about a 98% success rate with the thousands of texts I've sent going through almost instantly, the other 2% eventually going through after several minutes. If new technology is your thing, surely Google Voice will be a great addition to your web app collection. College students - make sure you grab your invites now!