At long last, it's time for everyone to step into the future of voicemail and phone calling. Google is teasing us with the groundbreaking voicemail and portable phone numbers of Google Voice. It's finally out of beta and offered to everyone in the U.S., without the need for one of those pesky invitations. Is it time to jump into Google Voice? Maybe not.
Google's free service converts your voicemails to text, and emails that message to you. It gives you a phone number you can use anywhere, lets you screen calls, and makes it so you can receive calls on your cellphone and landline at the same time. And that's just the beginning. Its feature list is delightfully vast and useful.
I've been experimenting with Google Voice for the past year, and I adore all of its futuristic features. I chose my own phone number and used that with all of the cellphones and smartphones I review here the Midwest Test Facility. I especially liked having all my phones ring when someone calls my Google Voice number. And, Google Voice takes over your voicemail, giving you its own version of visual voicemail in your browser that's hard to beat.
But Google Voice is plagued by a single problem that's a deal breaker for me. All of that digital wizardry adds about a quarter-second delay to your voice conversations, and the sound quality is awful. A quarter of a second might not seem like much, but it really ruins the whole conversational experience. Try talking between two cellphones, and the delay is even longer. The delay is so pronounced, you might as well be talking to someone standing on the surface of the moon.
There might not be any way currently available for Google to fix this dealbreaking delay problem, but until it does, I'll save that completely portable phone number that I've reserved on the service, patiently awaiting the day when that annoying delay has been diminished to a tenth of a second or less.
Via Ars Technica