What Exactly is Google Voice
Think of Google Voice as a virtual voice mail system. Initially set up by invite only, Google recently opened the product to the public, allowing current and new Google users to sign up for a phone number. This number can be used in a variety of ways - for example, let's say that you run your own business from home, but you don't want to give potential clients your home or cell phone number. With Google Voice, you can used the given number as a work number.
The Voice number can be set to your current area code or any area code, which can then be set up with a personal or professional voice mail message. When someone calls the number, they will hear the message, never knowing that it is a Google provided number. Many of the features for Voice are those that come with a phone contract - voice mail, ten digit phone number, and the ability to forward the number to any secondary number.
The standard number itself also allows for both email and text message alerts when you have a message. The Google Voice allows for extra functionality - you can use your Voice number from your cell or smartphone. For instance, a client calls your Google Voice number and leaves a message, but you are out and about and only have your BlackBerry on your person. With the Voice app, you can call that client back using the Voice number and, it will show up as that number on Caller ID.
As mentioned, from either the website or that of the app, you can get updated on when people have called and left messages for you. Settings can be updated and changed from Google Voice's main site, including listening and deleting voice messages, storing in phone numbers in to contacts, how you would like to receive alerts (either by email or text), and forwarding your Google Voice number to an alternative phone number, such as your BlackBerry number.