In a nutshell, Google Voice is a telecommunications service that helps you manage and customize your phone, voicemail and SMS usage. By signing up with Google Voice, you can have one phone number that can access all of your numbers (home, mobile and work). While your number may change if you switch carriers, your Google Voice number stays the same for life, unless you choose to change it.
Google Voice sign-up is free and open to all people residing in North America. Google Voice currently provides free PC-to-PC voice and video calling worldwide. Additionally, free PC-to-phone calls are available in North America until the end of 2013. In terms of paid service, Google Voice users in the US may make low-cost calls to international phone numbers. When people dial your Google Voice number, you can have it dialed your cell, home or work phone depending on who the callers are. You can set up custom voicemail greeting for individual contact or group.
Other Google Voice features include:
- Voicemail transcription (accuracy of the transcription is still to be desired)
- Voicemail delivered to your inbox
- Notification of voicemail messages via email or SMS
- Custom voicemail greeting for groups
- Send, receive, and store SMS online
- Call routing. Selection of phones that should ring based on calling number
- Blocking calls from specified numbers
- Listening in on someone’s recording of a voice message before taking a call (press 2 while answering, * to “pick up”)
- Conference calling
- Switching of phones during a call
- Make and Receive calls from within Gmail
- Ability to change your number for a fee ($10 as of this writing)
Besides the listed features, you can use third party apps from Android and iPhone to make free call using WiFi or your mobile data plan. You can also use devices like the OBi100 or OBi202 to replace your landline.
So, if you are interested in trying out Google Voice and already have a Google account (or if you are already using Gmail), then you can sign up at http://www.google.com/voice.
If you don’t have a Google account, you can follow the how-to guide here on how to get a Google Voice number.
You will find all the information here on how to set up and use Google Voice. If you have any questions or problems registering or problems using Google Voice, you can post your issues here.
The account you are transferring your Google Voice number to has to be a Google account as well. Click on the link below to get started.
1. You click through four bullet points acknowledging you understand what is involved in transferring your account before you are presented with the link to go through the actual transfer.
To send all calls made to your Google number directly to voicemail, you need to enable Do Not Disturb from a phone or through the Google Voice website. Once enabled, all calls will be sent to voicemail until you disable the setting.
Note: Any text messages sent to your Google number while Do Not Disturb is enabled, will also not be forwarded to your mobile phone.
With Google Voice, you can have custom greeting for all callers to hear or separate greetings for groups.
Setting up Voice mail greeting :
For All Contacts
- Click gear icon at the top right of any page, click Voice settings, and select the Voicemail & Text tab.
- In the Voicemail Greeting section, click the Record New Greeting button.
- Enter the name for the greeting you’re going to record and click Continue.
- A Record Greeting box appears. Select the phone you want to call to record the greeting, from the Phone to ring drop-down menu.
- Click Connect.
If you want to share a home number with your spouse, roommate or family member or work number with a colleague, both of you can add the same home or work number to Google Voice.
1. Sign in to the Google Voice website.
2. Click the gear icon at the top of the page, click Settings, and select the Phones tab.
3. Click the Add a new number link and enter your phone information in the appropriate field. Make sure that if you’re sharing a home or work number with another Google Voice user, you select Work or Home from the Phone Type drop-down menu.
4. Click Save.
Note: You can share a home or work number across two Google Voice numbers, but you can’t share a mobile number.
Google Voice has one of the lowest rates on international calls. To make calls, you use either the Google Voice website or the phone system, as long as you have one of your forwarding phones or smartphone available to complete the call.
In order to make international calls, you need to have credits in your Google Voice account. You can purchase credit through Google Wallet.
There are several ways to place call using Google Voice:
1. From the Google Voice website
2. From call phone in Gmail
3. From the Google Voice Phone System
4. From the Google Voice iPhone or Android app
Placing calls with Google Voice is almost the same as placing calls via your mobile carrier, depending on whether you have a Google number and how you have configured Google Voice on the phone.
1. Call a contact just as you would without Google Voice.
2. If you’ve configured Google Voice to ask whether you want to use it each time you place a call, touch Call with Google Voice in the dialog. If you’ve configured Google Voice to use it for all calls, this dialog doesn’t appear.
3. Google Voice displays a message, reminding you that you are placing the call via Google Voice.
If the call is a toll call, Google Voice plays a message with the per-minute charge and the number of minutes at this rate you have remaining in your Google Voice account.
Note: Using Google Voice for Android app to place your domestic and/or international calls will still use normal minutes from your cell phone plan.
If you don’t want to use your normal minutes, use GrooveIP to make Google Voice calls.
If you ever have the need to have a conference call between family members or business clients, you can use the Google Voice conference call feature. You can have a four way (you plus 3 others) calling using this feature. Follow the two simple steps below.
1. At a scheduled time, ask each conference call participant to call your Google Voice number.
2. As each participant calls in, simply answer the call and “Press 5″ to add them to the conference.
That’s it. Simple and free to use.
Only mobile numbers can be ported to Google Voice. When you go through the porting process, you will know if your mobile number can be ported or not. You cannot port landline to Google Voice at this time. A work around for this is to port your landline to a mobile service like AT&T GoPhone. Then port the number from AT&T GoPhone to Google Voice. However, this work around does not work for all landline numbers.