There’s been lots of updates to Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) over recent months, and Google Voice has been highlighted as the next area for improvement. We’re super excited to see that Google is stepping up its offering, with updates like Call Transferring, Ring Groups and an updated sidebar presenting Google Voice as a far more enterprise-ready communications tool. Damson Cloud’s very-own Fintan Murphy takes us through these new features, sharing some top tips along the way. Thank us later!
The first new feature we’re going to look at is Gmail’s revised and refreshed sidebar, where Google Voice is now available to access for the very first time. This improves an interface that’s already very simple and visually appealing, and users can now select Google Voice alongside those more established features like Google Calendar. It’s worth noting that the new sidebar integrates Google Voice more tightly into the rest of the Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) platform, making it even more accessible for the end user.
Google Voice: Now Available in Gmail’s Sidebar
The benefits of Gmail’s sleek new sidebar don’t end there. You can view a number of options straight from the sidebar, allowing you to make quick changes to headset and microphone settings as well as being able to view a full call log. Of course, Google Voice can be opened in a new tab from the sidebar if you need to do so. You can also answer calls directly from the sidebar – we don’t think it could get any handier.
Secondly, we want to highlight call transferring and why we’re going to love it so much. This is something we at Damson Cloud have been patiently waiting on, and Google Voice’s previous lack of this feature was a real weakness that stopped us from fully rolling the product out to our customers. After all, call transferability is an absolute essential for most businesses and organisations out there.
Call Transferring: Better Late Than Never
Fortunately, Google has stepped up to the mark with this new feature, and it works great on laptop on mobile devices. As you can see in Fintan’s demonstration, a new call transfer button appears on mobile. This is a huge improvement on Google Voice’s previous offering and is currently being rolled out via web. Notably, this new feature is available from your smartphone within the Google Voice app, which may be perfect for those who are improving on their remote-working setup.
Finally, we’d like to touch on a feature which isn’t quite ready to be rolled out yet, but certainly seems very exciting based on its beta stages: ring groups (some readers may be more familiar with the idea of ‘hunt groups’, where the caller will ‘hunt’ around for the next available person). These can be set up in 2 ways: simultaneous calls with all involved in the group, or a ‘round robin’ where it moves to the next available person. You can decide how long it will attempt to make a connection with an individual, which is a great aspect of control to have. Our only criticism is that this feature randomises who the caller makes a connection with, and you don’t get to talk to your colleague before transferring.
Ring Groups now in BETA
As Fintan explains, created Ring Groups must be given a name. When you call a particular number or device, that will be the name that appears on-screen. This is particularly useful in the event that you may be calling from an international number, for example. In the scenario we used in this week’s video, we highlighted how handy this feature is if you’re dialling from Ireland to a UK landline. With Ring Groups, Google Voice has truly taken the concept of Caller ID to the next level, and we love it.
You can have a description for your Ring Group, which is totally optionable. You then, of course, add users. Here, simply select from your contacts and add them into the group. Once you’ve finished this step, you must decide whether you want a round-robin or simultaneous calling. Given round-robin’s random nature, we’d recommend simultaneous calling for the time being.
Regardless of whether you opt for round-robin or simultaneous calling, you’ll have to decide what happens if a call isn’t answered. Does it go to voicemail? Does it continue ringing? Does it leave a message and disconnect, or does it forward the call onto another service that you have set up? If you go for the voicemail option, you’ll likely love the fact that you don’t need to pre-record any messages, and you can type your voicemail message in via the Google Voice interface.
Once you’ve decided your options and choice of settings, it’s time to allocate a phone number to your Ring Group. Here, you can choose from a bank of numbers or you can select a different region, adding it to your account so that you can purchase the number. Just out in a service address and choose your number – it’s very easy. As we’ve said, this is still in development and we can expect it to be launched in the very near future.
What we’ve taken from these updates is that Google Voice is now truly open to everyone. All of these new features add up to make it a more enterprise and business-ready product, and we can now see how a growing combination of solutions from Google will eventually offer their users a fully-mobile office solution – perfect for these changing times.
More About Damson Cloud
Recent months have seen huge developments from Google as they navigate workers and businesses through some of the challenges posed by Covid-19 – and we’ve even tried to offer some advice with blogs around video conferencing etiquette and creating a productive remote team. We expect Google to announce more exciting updates this year around Google communications tools such as Google Meet and Google Voice – so watch this space.
**Damson Cloud is currently expanding its meeting solution beyond messaging and video. Find out more on our dedicated Google Voice page.**
As a longstanding member of the Google Cloud Partner program, Damson Cloud specialises in bringing people and ideas together through new ways of working. We champion change management and digital transformation using some of the internet’s most trusted solutions, including Google Workspace, Happeo and Jamboard. To find out more about our services, check out our library of tutorial videos or our blog.