Google Voice now lets you decide who goes to voicemail

You can now set rules for how call forwarding works.

Steve Dent/Engadget

Google now lets you customize how its Voice service handles incoming calls. Starting today, you can configure the app to forward calls from either individual or groups of contacts to a linked phone number or your voicemail. Separately, you can set a rule that plays custom voicemail greetings for specific contacts. And if you want to avoid taking calls unless absolutely necessary, you can tell it to screen individuals.

Google said the new options allow users to route incoming calls in ways that complement their existing workflows. To start using the feature, head over to the Google Voice website and click the cog icon located toward the top of the interface. Then click “Calls,” followed by “Choose a rule.” Note that on the mobile app, it’s only possible to view rules you’ve already set; you can’t establish new ones — at least not yet.

Despite holding the distinction of being one of Google's longest-running services, Voice has received only sporadic attention from the search giant in recent years. Before today, the most recent update the company issued for Voice was to disable one of its most useful features. That's led to fears Google may discontinue the service soon, but today's update would indicate Voice has legs yet.