28 August 2009

Google Voice – Newsroom “Game Changer”?

Google’s new telecoms service could become the next big thing in the ‘digital toolkit’ for reporters.

According to Etan Horowitz, Google Voice is “a game changer for journalists” with many of its features helping to improve the way they keep in touch with sources, the public, and each other.

Writing on Poynter Online, the tech columnist for the Orlando Sentinel discusses some of the service’s key selling points and how they can help reporters.

Here are some examples of its main features:

* Google Voice allows users to select their own number.

* You can choose which phones (mobile phone, office landline, home landline, VOIP etc) ring when people call and set it to change at different times of day.

* Users can sort callers into groups and select different phones to ring depending on which ‘group’ calls.

* Incoming calls can be switched between phones.

* The ID of the caller is stated before you answer.

* If the caller is unknown, an automated message asks them to give their name which can then be heard by the user before answering.

* Voicemail messages are automatically transcribed and sent as an email.

* Incoming calls can be recorded and then accessed through the user’s Google Voice account.

See the Poynter Online article by Horowitz for more about Google Voice.

At present, the invite-only service is limited to users in the US.

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