My experience with Google Voice

Today, much to my dismay, I decided to stop using the Google Voice service for my mobile voicemail and start using the default AT&T service.

I decided to use Google Voice when I got my new smart phone, the Samsung Galaxy S. There are a lot of great features in the Google Voice product. My favorite features are the ability to “see” my voicemail and listen to messages directly from a toolbar widget in the browser. The option I chose was to forward my phone calls to Google so that they can provide the voicemail service when I missed a call. If you decide to use a Google Voice number, the features and options you have are even greater.

But like all Beta products, you cannot expect everything to be perfect. Unfortunately, when it comes to receiving phones calls, the quality and performance standards that I hold a product to are extremely high. And specifically, with the Google Voice service, it seems that sometimes, phone calls that were made just wouldn’t connect. I didn't believe this was happening until more than one person told me that my phone wasn't working. If you were the caller, you wouldn’t even get my voicemail box. Instead, it would appear as if the number wasn’t connected or a wrong number was dialed. This is unacceptable.

The other issue I had was with the quality of the audio file that was used for playback. Often, the volume was entirely too low to comprehend the entire voice message. Lastly, the transcription of the audio to text was hit and miss. If the caller spoke like a robot and the line was totally clear on their end, the transcription was great. If, however, the caller was not the clearest speaker or their connection (like from another mobile phone) was not clear, the transcription was either not useful or missing entirely.

Overall, I would rate the Google Voice product a C+. Again, I place significant weight on their ability to connect callers. The thought that I may have missed a critical call from someone was too much risk for me to live with and certainly was not off-set by the cool Google Voice features.

So it’s back to the regular AT&T voicemail for me. I’m hoping someday they’ll bring visual voicemail to my phone service. Until then, please leave a message!

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