If you’re a fan of The State’s Adam Beam, you may have noticed something different in yesterday’s paper.
Instead of Adam’s traditional footer with his work phone number, he’s now using a Google Voice Number exclusively. This allows Adam to use one number that will ring two different numbers incase he isn’t by his office phone at the time.
There are numerous features that make GV a valuable tool for journalists. Most notable is the embeddable “Call me” button. Anyone who is running their own blog can use this to let readers call and give them tips about breaking news as it happens. This would give people the ability to give eye witness accounts on a digital tip line, or express their outrage over an editorial in the paper. The voice-mails in GV are also embeddable which is also helpful, but could be a security risks depending on the sensitivity of the message. To use the call widget below you have to enter your correct telephone number which Google will call and connect you with the Google Voice number you have dialed.
There’s also a transcription service. Google will transcribe your emails and email them to you along with a link to an mp3 of the voice-mail. The transcription service is a hit or miss, and gets a 6 out of 10 on the usefulness scale.
You can make and recieve calls within Google Voice or on your phone. I was lucky enough to snag a copy of GV mobile while it was still in the iTunes app store. If you contacts have telephone numbers in Gmail, you can call them and also send them text messages. You also have the ability to record your telephone calls in GV as well.
You can also set up the service to only ring certain phones at select times. For example, you can set your cell phone up to ring only between 7 a.m and 8 p.m. or have it only ring your work number during that time.
Etan Horowitz has a complete write up on Poynter with an embedded phone call where he discusses some of the other features of Google Voice.
Google Voice is a free service and is available through invitation only at this point.