Google Voice is very seamlessly integrated into the Google Talk program and the Gmail service. It’s extremely easy to make calls and deal with all of your phoning needs while you are logged into your Gmail account. You can add credits using Google Play, you can manage your contacts, you can read your voicemail, you can record your voice and transcribe it to text for sending by email and a host of other features, such as SMS to email, conference calls and some of the best VoIP/SIP rates in the world. In fact, if you are located in the United States then the rates are completely free for all of North America.
Integrated into Google Talk
Google Talk is a standalone application that you can install onto your computer. It works on PC, Mac (however it was initially rejected from the apple app store) and Linux. It can access all of the features of Google Voice and also acts like a chat program. Not only this, but you can set it up to communicate with other chat clients such as MSN and Yahoo! Messenger.
Google Talk is also completely open, so you can access your clients through other programs using a Jabber type connection. Although if you do this you may not have access to all of the features. It’s best to just get more memory for your computer and run several clients to get full features instead of trying to use one client to run them all.
Full Gmail integration as well
Google Voice is also fully integrated into Gmail by way of the chat window side bar. By clicking on a contact you can bring up the dialing panel and you can call them normally, chat with them or even set up a video conference. Best of all, it’s free for North America or comes with great rates for the rest of the world.