It's hard for someone like me who doesn't have a cell phone to stay in touch with people these days. I know, I should just get one and some day I may, but for now I stand on my principles. Besides, I don't really have that many people to stay in touch with, nor that much to talk about around the clock.
But there is one functionality of the cell phone I wish I had, without the cell phone itself - texting. To me texting via Short Message Service or SMS has been a blessing. No longer must we endure endless chatter in the stores, on the trains, or at the airline gates. I have no problem with people quietly texting, as long as the annoying bell is off. And I think texting does have its uses, like when I need to send a quick message to my kids. I could do that with email too, but texting is so much easier. Enter Google Voice.
Google Voice is the old GrandCentral service after Google bought them and ported over the accounts. By itself, Google Voice is a pretty good service. You get your own number and can forward it to another phone/cell number, use it to take messages and even make cheap calls with it.
What I didn't know until recently is that Goggle Voice also comes with SMS texting. Even better, I was able to forward the incoming texts to my Gmail account, and yet better, I can reply to the texts right from Gmail and it's just like texting back the sender. And even yet better, it appears that this service is free, although I still don't have definitive confirmation on that.
What that means to me is that Google Voice has given me another opportunity not to bend my principles to get a cell phone just so I can text a few times a month. At the least it has delayed the dreaded inevitability of dropping a dead-weight in my pocket and making ridiculous monthly payments for the privilege.
SMS Texting in Google Voice
SMS Texting via Gmail