First Person: Google Talk
My business partner and I use Google Apps for pretty much everything we do at our website consulting company. One of our favorite features is Google Talk, the VoIP service that lets us talk over the Internet for free. We are rarely in the same office -- my partner, Elijah Litscher, often works from his home office, and we attend sales calls and client meetings separately each week. But we stay in contact with the service, which we can use to "text chat" on our BlackBerrys or, preferably, "voice chat" from PC to PC.
It may seem old fashioned, but we've discovered that holding quick conversations is faster and easier than typing out e-mails, text messages, or even instant messages. I simply hit the Call button on my Google dashboard, and I'm talking to Eli in three seconds. If he's unavailable, I can leave him a voice-mail message, and he'll receive a notification in his Gmail inbox. If I'm online but don't want to be interrupted, the service lets me switch to "invisible mode."
Google Talk's sound quality isn't always great -- sometimes the calls are a bit noisy. Still, we prefer it to Skype, since it's on the same dashboard as our other Google Apps. I can see us continuing to use the service to chat with each other and our employees as our start-up business grows.
Have you tried Google Talk or any other products or services in The Goods? Head to www.inc.com/thegoods and tell us what you think. We run the best comments in the magazine every month.