Most of the excitement about telephones these days concerns the iPhone, Palm Pre, Android phones and similar small computers. These devices let you browse Web sites, check your e-mail, make appointments in your calendar, watch the latest You Tube videos, listen to music, take pictures, make movies, direct you to your next meeting with spoken turn-by-turn directions, and even make phone calls.
With all that excitement in your pocket it’s easy to forget that most of us are also tethered to one or more wired phones at home and work. Missing an important call from a client is easy to do if you don’t hear your cell phone ring, and don’t bother checking your office voice mail before heading out on Friday afternoon. Using only a cell phone works for some people, but it’s not practical if your company has a main and/or toll free number, or for those cases where you have to transfer a caller down the hall.
Google seems to be everywhere these days so I guess it’s not surprising that they are also trying to shake up the old fashioned phone business with a service called Google Voice. (No surprise, AT&T has already complained to the FCC about Google Voice, trying to nip this upstart competitor in the bud.) Like many of their other new online tools Google Voice is technically in beta test so it’s not guaranteed to be reliable, available, or ever become a real product. But for now at least Google Voice is available, mostly reliable, free, and really handy for small businesses in particular.
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