Chrome now gets Google Voice extension

Google last night released the second version of its Google Voice Chrome extension with some very notable new features.  If you are using the Mac or Linux versions of Chrome, you'll need to be running a beta version of Chrome that supports extensions.

The new Google Voice extension:

- Adds a button to the toolbar, which displays the number of unread messages in your Google Voice inbox.

- Gives you quick access to your most recent messages with transcripts. - Lets you initiate calls and send free text messages by just typing any number or contact name.

- Makes phone numbers on websites callable via Google Voice by just clicking on them. 

Installing the extension on Chrome couldn't be easier.  Simply browse to the extension page here.  Click Install and click on a few check boxes to sign away your rights to privacy.


Without even a browser restart, you'll now see a little Voice icon to the right of your URL/Search bar.  You can now click on that button to make a quick call, SMS or to check your messages.

The little Voice icon will also tell you if you have any outstanding messages (and by outstanding I mean hilariously-transcribed by Google's not-yet-perfect speech recognition engine).


Perhaps the best feature is that, like on an iPhone or Android phone, Phone numbers are now clickable and you can make calls from directly in your browser.


The call will go through your phones set up with Google voice.  Eventually, once Google has fully integrated its Gizmo5 purchase, you'll be able to make calls directly from the browser, with no external phone intervention.  I have Google Voice connected to my Skype account so I don't need to leave the computer for the call.

The functionality worked well for me. As I am starting to become a big Google Voice user, this is the kind of thing that may get me to change my default browser to Chrome.

Apple, if it wants to keep power Google users using Safari, will have to come up with a competing technology.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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