Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I recently had a conversation with a couple people at various times asking me similar questions, so here are some of the common questions and answers, let me know if you have any questions, I'll gladly post my answers.
I had my sister txt me at my GV number and it came up some
wild number, with her number in the txt message itself. So....its like
I get a message from 405 xxx xxxx and I have no idea who it is. I named
it "google" just to see, and had my other sister txt me and it was a
different (but very similar) number. Is that how it works? I'm
guessing it goes through google, and google is actually the one txting
me correct? If so, how do you know who is txting you? There is no way
I am remembering everyones numbers.
So here is the story, basically, the text message goes to google, then
Google checks to see if the number is a contact, if so it will stick
their name in the text otherwise they stick the number in the message, then send you the contents of the text message.
Unfortunately that appears to be the only way that it works as of this
point, so basically expect to get some crazy number, but it'll have the
person's name or number (depending on if they are a contact yet or not),
now when you respond, you simply respond to that number, (just by
hitting reply), once you've done that, I imagine google parses the
initial portion (containing name or number) and sends them a text
message from your google number (oddly enough)

So basically if you have their number in google contacts you'll know
who's contacting you, fortunately I was so worried about losing my phone
and contacts that I had already had my google contacts updated by the
time this came along, now apparently there is a way to upload the phone
book to google contacts (via CSV), and that being the case you can
export your phone's contacts via CSV, the only toughie, is converting
one to the other,You might be able to convert using perl or some such script and then all you have to do is upload it to google, and you're golden.

The other odd thing is, I haven't told anyone else this new number, and
I've been txting all kinds of people and no one has really said "who is this" when they get my txt. As far as I know,
they don't see anything different - just like its txting from my regular
number. And on the google voice page there are only the conversations
ive had with you, and when I had my sisters txt me. I don't think that
you are in my contact list, and when you txt me it comes up as the new
number I put in your phone?

It seems it treats google voice members differently? So it does not
give me a random number with you, even though you are not in my
From the looks of things, google voice customers texting to other
customers will see the google voice number come across, as far as
texting other people, unless you text them "through" your google voice
number, you are still literally using your number, it doesn't
automatically take your texts when you send them and send them through
The problem with "regular" phones, is if you want to call/text
someone through Google voice, using your phone (and not replying to a
text), you will have to call your google number (not sure how yet, I'll
have to look it up) then from there tell it who to call, so it's kinda a
pain unless you have a smart phone and can use an app, I.E. if you have
your ipod touch setup (jailbroken not that you would do that), you might be able to make that work, or Android and Blackberry already have apps in place.

What I've "been" doing is I'll go to the site and click call next to a
contact (or you can type in a number) then tell it which phone to ring,
then your phone will ring and then you will be connected with the
outgoing call to the number you wanted to call.

So what does that mean?

Basically if you don't have a smart phone, calling and texting (from
your phone) is a PIA, (except texts where you have already received one
on your phone), from the web interface it's pretty slick.

Hmmm, it seems like most of this google voice thing is a pain in the ass
- and I don't really see where the benefit is. But its fun enough to
play around with though and txt people through the interwebs and they
won't know who it is.
So what is the benefit of a Google Voice number?

  1. One phone number that you keep and you don't have to worry about "transferring" from carrier to carrier.

  2. Central number that can call any/all of your phones, much like calling a 1-800 number to get ahold of a company and then they route you through the system to the proper phone, you now have this ability, nice if you have co-workers, friends and family constantly calling you can route them, or setup call schedules for different phones (see call schedule post).

  3. I can't stand texting from my phone, but frequently have an internet connection so I can use the much nicer keyboard from my iPod or even my desktop to handle this cumbersome task (for my phone anyways)

  4. You get to pick your number, basically if you can think of one, try searching for it, and you can have it if you find it, most carriers just give you a choice of a couple numbers (terrible).

  5. Call Schedules.

  6. Voicemail transcription, It still needs work, but if it transcribes your messages close enough you can get a gist of it, and know if you really want to listen to that 2.5 minute VM, or have a good enough idea after a few words what it's all about.

  7. LOGS! I occasionally like to have record of conversations with people GV does this multiple ways, one you can record conversations (haven't tried this yet), SMS logs, and Voicemail logs, no more having to store your max text messages and deleting only one when you need to receive a new text, once you have your text at your phone, it's already logged in GV, also no more WAITING for your current carrier's VM system to give you all kinds of useless info wasting your time and more importantly your minutes.

  8. Telemarketer "spam" abilities. So if the only number you give out is your GV number, it doesn't matter if a telemarketer calls you, all you have to do is add them to your contacts (Say a SPAM contact) and setup the special routing of that one to go to a special voicemail that says "the number you are trying to reach is out of service", no more/ very little telemarketers from now on.

There are more I'm sure but this is a good start.