With all the publicity about Apple rejecting Google Voice iPhone app I just had to install it on my HTC G1 to check what the noise is all about. First of all to use the app you need to have a Google Voice account. It is offered by invitation only and to get it you need to fill out this form and wait for an invite code to show up in your email box in a few days. You are more lucky if you have a GrandCentral account. Since the company is now owned by Google you can convert your account to Google Voice and this way get access to the app. The upgrade took me just a few moments and it kept my old contacts and call settings.
The new service has all the cool features that GrandCentral had plus more: voice mail transcripts, conference calling and SMS support. No one sends me SMS messages and I am yet to try conference calling but I find voice mail transcripts a great time saver. Here is how a typical voice mail transcript looks. The only bits that have errors are the last name and the phone number (it somehow got an extra digit which should not be there).
The release of Google Voice Android app has made the service even more useful since now I can not only receive calls to my Google Voice number but also make them and the receiving part will see my GV number despite the fact that I call from my cell phone which has a different native number.
The app nicely integrates with the Android contact book and you can configure it to intercept all calls, only international calls, or prompt on each call you make. So far I have configured it for international calls since the rates are much lower than what t-Mobile offers but I will be glad to go all the way with the first option if/when Google offers to port my cell number to Google Voice. Too many people have it and it will be too much of a hassle to migrate.
Meantime I can still use the GV number as a temporary number I want to give to the businesses and people whose calls I want to screen. E.g. I am going to give it to the car dealers when I go shopping for a new car to replace my Accord which later this year will have 160K miles on the odometer.
By the way, I find GV international calling rates very competitive. Canada is free, Ukraine is 10 cents and Russia is 5 cents (these are the 3 countries I call the most). JustVOIP is still cheaper but it is hard to compete with the Google Voice convenience so most likely I will use it when I have to call on the go (which previously was a big hassle since I had to dial all those access codes).
Do you use Google Voice? Is it running on your phone? Please share what you like/dislike about it in the comments