Google Voice - Your Personal Assistant

posted Oct 19, 2012, 9:37 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Dec 12, 2016, 6:47 AM by Doug Saunders ]
Do you ever wish you had your very own personal assistant? Are you annoyed when you miss important messages because you are in the classroom all day with only a few breaks in between? Google Voice can fill that void and act as your very own secretary by providing you with real time transcribed voice messages sent directly to your cell phone as a text message.  *Let's face it, teachers are not made of money, and Google Voice provides teachers with free text messaging. For those of us that don't have an unlimited texting plan, this could end up saving us some serious coin. To get started just log into your Google account and go to the URL:

When you sign up for a Google Voice phone number, you will be able to choose an entirely new phone number that is connected to your original cell phone number. This is a nice feature because you will never need to share your personal cell phone number with parents or students. This phone number can be placed on your website or at the top of your syllabus.

I have set up my Google Voice phone number to go straight to voice mail.  I did this so my cell phone will not ring during the school day. I can listen to the voice mail during my plan time or whenever I have a free moment. You are probably wondering how do I know when someone has left a voice mail or a text message? Does one need to constantly check the website? The answer is no. I have set my Google Voice settings to send me a transcribed text message of the voice mail directly to my cell phone.  In other words, when a caller leaves a voice recording, Google Voice turns that voice recording into a text message that is sent to my cell phone. That way I can immediately & discretely see if this voice mail is something that I need to address immediately or at a later date.  All voice mails are saved on the Google Voice website, hereby providing me with a well documented phone log. When parents or students send text messages to my Google Voice number, I can reply to them via. the Google Voice website free of charge or right from my cell phone. Questions about homework, test dates, and parent conferences can be communicated directly through Google Voice's intuitive interface. You also have the option to star important voice mails and text messages. See sample below:

Google Voice Interface

You can also set Google Voice to ring multiple phones at once.  For instance, if someone calls your Google Voice number, it will not only ring your cell phone, but also your house phone, work phone, and second cell phone all at the same time. No reason to ever miss a call! (Not sure if that is entirely a good thing though...) You can even set up  multiple voice greetings and customize which caller hears which greeting. So Mom or your best friend will hear a different greeting than if the parent of a student were to dial the number.

Lastly, there is a Google Voice App that you can download to your iPhone or android device.

iPhone Screen Shots

If you are a Chrome user you can also download the Google Voice Extension from the Chrome Store. This extension places a notification icon in the menu bar of the browser in order to quickly show you if you have any new incoming messages.  You can text directly from the extension as well.

Google Voice Chrome Extension

If you can think of any other good uses of Google Voice - let me know.

*If you forward Google Voice text messages to your cell phone standard text rates will apply.  Any texts sent directly via. the Google Voice Interface is free.