"Google Voice for Dummies" Book Review by Spike Radway

Posted by Spike Radway at 2/1/2010 11:03 AM

“Google Voice for Dummies” by Bud E. Smith and Chris Dannen and published by Wiley Publishing was my main source of information in preparing for my presentation portion of the January 28, 2010 CDPUG (www.cdpug.org) Google Chronicles meeting. I found the book very helpful in exploring the nuances of Google Voice that you would not get from the instructional videos on YouTube, and the help screens on Google Voice web site.

The book has a 2010 copyright, and is amazingly current with the latest developments for Google Voice and includes the issues with the iPhone and App Store. The forward of the title is by two founding members of the Google Voice team, and it is obvious when reading the book that the authors had close access to information from Google. This adds to the depth of the book and the value of the information in it. The authors also have a blog www.gvdaily.com for Google Voice news.
The 312 page book is organized into five sections. Part 1 is Setting Up Google Voice; Part 2 is Maximizing Your Voice; Part 3 is Maximizing your Handset; Part 4 is Playing Well with Others; and Part 5 is The Part of Tens. I read the book straight through, though from the way it is written, it would also be useful to just skip around to the sections of significant interest . Key components of Google Voice are repeated as they relate in each section, and the redundancy helped me out in getting a grasp of the services Google Voice has to offer.
I learned a few key things from the explanations of Google Voice in the book. First, Google Voice works best if it is used as your primary phone number and all of you calls go through it. It can be used partially, but then you only get the partial benefits of the service. Also, Google Voice can plan nicely with Skype for overseas calls. It works differently than Skype and can have clearer call quality. There’s a chapter on the iPhone which I appreciated. And the issue of free cell minutes and the use of Google Voice was discussed. I hadn’t thought of that when focused on the features of Google Voice.
As a volume user of cell minutes, and the long time user of Smart Phones, starting with the Palm Treo 600 and now an iPhone 3Gs, I appreciate what Google Voice can do and the nuances and complications of integrating a phone with your work and personal life. This book explains the subtleties quite nicely. The issues can be a bit involved, so I recommend that this book not be a bedtime reading on your night stand. Alert thought can be involved for many of the ideas.
I can easily say that this title is the best Google Voice book out there. That wouldn’t be hard since at this point in time, it’s the only Google Voice book available. But even if other titles arrive, I would recommend the book, and found it quite useful. I’d give it five spikes out of five.
Spike Radway
CDPUG Program Director

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