Google (News - Alert) voice is more than just a really cool app for consumers to use one phone number across many devices. When it comes to businesses, Google Voice can be an integral tool, particularly small businesses who otherwise have limited resources.
For a small business owner that has little to no staff would benefit from Google Voice’s ability to be on every device so missing calls is never an issue. Because a Google Voice number is valid regardless of the types of devices one designates their number to, consistency is simple.
Aside from being able to assign different rules and greetings depending on contacts, Google Voice allows the user to set up pretty much anywhere, so location is never a concern. Businesses can specify when and where they want to receive calls as well, and of course searching and prioritizing make it that much easier to deal with call volume.
Google has made strides in adding PBX (News - Alert) functionality to their free service and can be expected to continue adding additional features. While calls from your PC to other PCs and U.S.-based phones are free, calls to international numbers start at only $0.02 per minute. Their international rates may be significantly lower than those of your current service provider; so, for the user who occasionally needs to make an international call, Google Voice can be an excellent solution.
Google Voice users can take advantage of Google’s user-friendly interface when checking and storing call logs, text messages and voicemail-to-text transcriptions. The ability to check voicemails online, as opposed to sifting through a queue on your phone, has given users much more functionality and flexibility when managing their calls and messages.
In 2010, Google enabled the ability to make and receive calls directly from a personal Gmail account over VoIP, effectively becoming a web-based Skype (News - Alert) alternative.
A frugal business can now forgo the purchase of a phone entirely, instead relying on Google Voice through Gmail during business hours and forwarding to an employee's personal numbers after hours.
Perhaps this is one compelling feature that brings businesses on the fence over to Google's Apps from more traditional services.