With numerous cloud-based mobile systems available on the market, Google Voice is still one of the reputable contenders in providing affordable messaging and calling services. It delivers an outstanding range of features, inexpensive pricing, and a wonderful opportunity for you to bring your home or office phone with you anytime, anywhere. While it may not be the most state-of-the-art alternative to your smartphone, it is still a great option if you are looking for a cheap way to get additional phone service for your personal and business needs.
Using Google Voice to integrate a second mobile number to your smartphone is an ideal way to protect your private information from cyber threats, hackers, and criminals as well as protect your privacy online. Similar to not giving your landline number to just about anyone, you don’t need to provide your phone number to every new colleague, social network, mailing list, or application.
If you find yourself wondering how Google Voice works, read on to discover our detailed guide about Google Voice and gain essential information about this app.
What is Google Voice?
Formerly known as GrandCentral before it was acquired by Google in 2009, Voice is a telecommunication service provider that works in unification with your current mobile phone service and provides a free secondary mobile number with SMS abilities, voicemail, and other essential mobile services. Once your mobile number is configured, you can link it with one or more landline or cellular phone numbers.
It is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service app that provides you with a separate Google Voice number that you can utilize to forward incoming calls and messages to any device you prefer such as smartphones, landlines, and others, with a maximum of six different phones. When you utilize it, you can select a different area code other than your local one, which provides optimum protection from anyone trying to locate your geographical region or address.
This uses your existing Google account to provide you with a different public-facing mobile number for voicemails, text messaging, and free calling for your computers and mobile devices. You select your Google Voice number as a second mobile number that associates with your original personal number. You can install and configure the app with a full backup. Also, it delivers advanced voicemail transcriptions that you can read in the app or even send through your email. It allows you to call international destinations at competitive pricing without additional charges and hidden fees. Also, it syncs across multiple devices while you’re on the go and organizes your messages. It also blocks any numbers and filters out spams.
The downside of it is that it is only compatible with U.S. G Suite accounts and Google accounts and some text messaging isn’t compatible everywhere. Also, there may be some limitations in this app depending on when you decide to provide information. It applies when you set up an existing account on a new phone or if you change your mind about Google Voice phone numbers or other configurations.
Is Google Voice Free?
One of the notable things about this app is that the price for Google Voice is extremely affordable. It’s a free platform to download and register for use. It is 100% free to make phone calls and send text messages for as long as you are using it to communicate between your Google Voice phone number and other U.S. mobile numbers.
If you want to call someone abroad, you will need to add credits to your account. On numerous occasions, the fees are low and require a couple of cents per minute. If you want to know the call rates, visit Google Voice Calling Rates. You can select the country/region of the person you’re planning to call and see the associated rates.
How to Sign up to Google Voice?
- Select your Google Voice number. Google will provide you with a selection of numerous locations in your region. If you haven’t chosen any number from the initial list, you can click “Show More” until you find a number you want. After choosing a phone number, you need to verify that you have a current mobile number to link with the Google Voice number. As such, click “Verify.”
Note: You can only link one phone number with a Google Voice number. However, if you already have an existing Google Voice number linked to your existing phone number and you want a new one, there is an existing workaround using another virtual number. For instance, you can create a Google Voice number using a Hushed number and you can use a Skype number too.
3. You will be prompted to provide your current mobile number so you can receive a six-digit code for verification. If you don’t want the text method, you can choose to receive a phone call. Once you already have the code, input it where necessary.
4. Congratulations! You have associated your new Google Voice phone number to your current mobile number.
How to Set up Google Voice?
Set up Google Voice on iOS Devices
Similar to Android, Google provides a free app through the App Store that enables you to launch it on your iPhone, iPad, or even iPod! From this app, you can send text messages, make free calls, and listen to voicemails just as you would in Android platforms or the web version.
1. If you don’t have the app yet, download it from the App Store.
2. Open the app and when Google recognizes your existing account, tap the “Continue As [Your Name]” button.
3. Tap the “Accept” button to agree to the Terms and Conditions of the app.
4. Choose “Search” to select a number by area code or city.
5. Choose the number you like from the list.
6. Tap “Next” to agree to verify your current mobile number.
7. Input your active phone number and tap “Send Code.”
8. Input the verification code you’ve received from your existing phone number.
9. You will be prompted that the number is added to your account.
10. If Google asks for permission to access your contacts, select “OK.”
11. If Google asks for permission to enable notifications, select “Allow.”
12. Google will notify you that all calls made from Google Voice will appear in the app.
Set up Google Voice on Android Devices
1. If you don’t have the app yet, download it from the Google Play Store.
2. It may or may not require you to choose or log in to your existing Google account.
3. Click “Search” to choose a number. Choose the number that you like your contacts to see when you make a phone call with them. You can search by area code or city.
4. Click “Search” when you select your phone number and tap “Next” to confirm the mobile number you have chosen.
5. It verifies the phone number you select. If everything is good to go, tap “Accept Number.”
6. You will be prompted to add a number. If you haven’t associated your mobile number to your Google account, go ahead and tap the “Send Code.”
7. If Google Voice asks permission to access your contacts, select “Allow.”
8. Your contact list will appear.
9. Congratulations! You are now ready to use your Google Voice app on your Android device.
How Does Google Voice Work?
It is a simple and straightforward app in terms of functionality and ease of use. The app works over an internet connection; therefore, as long as you are connected to your home or office internet connection, Google Voice works normally as expected.
When you register with Google Voice for the first time, you have the option of utilizing the mobile number that you can associate with the service or getting one. If you opt for the latter, you will need to type your area code and choose the mobile number of your choice. If you are particular with the mobile number’s digits for a specific purpose such as getting a vanity number to dial for your business needs, you can type in your desired number and verify if it’s available or not.
Once you obtain your mobile number, you can create a voicemail message. You can then begin making phone calls from your mobile device or computer. You can also use this platform to send and receive text messages from your colleagues, friends, family, and other contacts.
When you receive a voicemail via Google Voice, you can access it in the app and receive a transcript or recording of it via personal email.
When you get a call, especially if you have configured your account to forward calls to your mobile phone, you will receive an alert that someone is calling your Google Voice number. You can then decide whether you will answer it or not. If you decide to make a return call, you can configure your phone number to appear on the recipient’s caller ID instead of your existing mobile number.
If you want to configure your number to ring in numerous devices, you can successfully customize it according to your liking. Google Voice is completely handy in business settings where different people may want to answer the company’s phone to address clients and other business inquiries or transactions.
What Are Google Voice Features?
Configuration of Google Voice According to Your Needs
It has several customization options that you can make depending on how you want to configure and use this platform. The user interface and functionalities of the mobile app are similar in both Android and iOS devices. All of the necessary configurations can be found in the Settings section of the app. If you are using an Android device, you can access the Settings menu by tapping on the vertical three-dotted menu located in the upper-left corner of the screen.
Google Voice Messaging
Any functionality would not be complete if a messaging feature is not available. Together with the mobile number that comes with your mobile SIM, you can utilize your app to chat with any digit that uses SMS capabilities. The mobile app will utilize your phone number.
The drawback is that Google’s other applications aren’t all compatible with the Voice messaging feature. While you can call other people using it and someone who is using a different app such as Google’s Messages can see your number if you send a message, your recipient will see the message as coming from your mobile SIM’s number and not your Google Voice phone number.
There is an exception to the rule – you can utilize Google’s Hangouts app to send and receive messages using your number only. In 2017, Hangouts has stopped being a general SMS messaging app. Despite being already incompatible with G Suite clients, Hangouts is still a good alternative.
Google Voice to Make Phone Calls
- Navigate to the lower part of the screen until you can tap on “Calls Started From This Device’s Phone App.”
- Select whether you want to create calls using your phone number or your existing mobile number. You can also select which you’d like to use every time you make phone calls or just use Google Voice for calling someone overseas.
Google Voice to Receive Incoming Calls
- Navigate to the lower part of the screen until you can tap on “Call Forwarding.”
- You will see all of the devices that you’ve registered with Google Voice. You can enable the specific devices that you want to receive calls by toggling them on.
Google Voice Notifications for Messages and Missed Calls
In this part, you can scroll down to the lower part of the screen and tap “Message Notifications” or “Missed Call Notifications.” There are several options you can modify here; however, the choices are entirely similar in both scenarios. Options include the following:
- View notifications in the status bar
- Select a ringtone for notifications and/or vibrate your device when you receive a message/s
- Enable lock screen notifications
- Toggle on and off for notifications
There are still different features available in the Settings menu that you can change according to your preference. Aside from the ones already mentioned, you can activate “Do Not Disturb” so that all calls are immediately redirected to voicemails; screen calls by hearing a person’s name before you pick up; block your caller ID; receive transcripts or recordings of your voicemail via email or texts; record all incoming calls.
Google Voice – Voicemail Greeting
- Scroll down until you can tap “Voicemail Greeting.”
- You can use a default “The Google Subscriber you have called is unavailable. Please leave your message after the beep.” Or you can customize your voicemail greeting such as “<Your Name> is currently not available. Please leave your message after the tone.” You can also record your message for a more personalized touch.
Google Voice – Voicemail Transcription
It is integrated with voicemail features that can store messages. Through Google’s advanced speech recognition technology, Voice can transcribe your voicemail into a readable format and save in your Google Voice account. You will receive an email notification with the text and audio format of these voicemails to your Gmail account.
Google Voice to Block Spam Calls
One of its essential features is the ability to block spam calls automatically. With your phone number, you can block text messages and phone calls identified as spam by Google immediately to the Spam folder. If you want to activate this feature, go to your Google Voice account > Settings > Calls > Global Spam Filtering.
Google Voice Calls on Google Home
Google Home users can make free phone calls to the U.S. and Canada. The recipient will see an unknown number when they get the phone calls from Google Home devices by default. Instead of using an unknown number, you can set up your Google Home device with the number for your personal and business calls.
Google Voice Calls on Gmail
With Google Voice, you don’t need your mobile phone to call someone every time. If you are working on your PC and your mobile phone isn’t reachable, you can call immediately from the Chrome Hangout Plugin or Gmail.
Google Voice – Conference Call Feature
It enables you to create a conference call with a maximum of four participants. Instead of sending out different conference numbers and access codes to invite people to join in, you can ask them to call you at a scheduled time and you can gather all these people to start a conference meeting. When you are on an active call and a new person joins in, you will have the preference to conference the new caller with your current call. You need to activate the conference call feature in Google Voice > Settings > Call > Call Options.
Google Voice to Send and Store SMS in Email
Are you wondering if you can save a history of all your incoming and outgoing text messages or SMS? It is possible with the app. You can access the history of your text messages on Google Voice > Left Sidebar > Texts.
Google Voice Legacy
In 2017, Google redesigned its web version. It has simplified its interface so that it is aligned with the company’s Material Design. However, some clients still like the older interface. Despite having a more cluttered interface, users can easily configure some of the features of the platform.
If you want to try Legacy, you can follow these steps:
- Navigate to https://voice.google.com/
- Sign in to your account.
- Click the Main Menu icon located in the upper-left corner of the page. Once you see the Legacy icon, click on it.
- You will be redirected to a new tab for your Voice account. If you want to access your Settings, click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the page.
How to Set up Google Voice With Multiple Devices?
The accounts support numerous settings and preferences including a feature that enables you to set up your phones to receive calls when someone rings your number. You can configure up to six different phone numbers to have six various devices or mobile phones alert when receiving calls. For instance, you can have your mobile phone, office phone, and home phone ring all at once when someone calls your number.
Here is how to configure multiple devices with Google Voice:
- Open https://voice.google.com/ and sign in to your account.
- Navigate to Google Voice Settings by clicking on the hamburger icon in the upper-left part of the screen.
- Select the “Phone Numbers” tab and navigate to the “Linked Numbers” section of the Settings menu.
- Click “New Linked Number” under your current phone number.
- Input the phone number that receives calls and click “Send Code” or “Call” if you prefer the phone call option.
Note: If you select the calling option, you will need to tap or click “Call” once more to begin the phone call.
- In the text field provided on the page, type in the code you got via text or phone call.
- Navigate to the Settings panel from step #2 and access the “Calls” tab.
- Verify if there’s a checkmark in the box next to all configured phone numbers. If none, tick the checkbox next to your preferred phone number that should ring when someone calls you via phone number.
What are the Google Voice Accounts?
Number Porting enables users to port their mobile numbers to Google Voice. It lets them have access to all the configuration settings and its features without the need to set up a new and separate mobile number. Number Porting has an associated fee for usage.
Google Voice Phone Number
It is nothing without a number. It provides users with a single number that can receive calls from all of their registered devices. Users can customize their accounts so that when someone calls their Google Voice number, it can either ring all of their registered devices all at once or just a specific device that a user prefers.
Google Voice On Sprint
Its features are integrated with Sprint devices through Google Voice on Sprint. Sprint users have the preference of utilizing their Sprint mobile number to work also as their phone number. As a result, it reduces the time and effort it takes to create a separate Google Voice number for personal and business use.
Also, Sprint users can register for a number and replace their Sprint number. This feature may be preferable to users who already have an existing Google Voice phone number.
Google Voice Lite (Voicemail Only)
It provides users with one voicemail for all devices. They can add an existing mobile number to their account. From there, they can receive voicemail transcripts or recordings, personalized greetings, and other voicemail-related functionalities. With this, your voicemail works like an email; voicemail messages can be saved in your inbox where it can be opened online and via mobile phones.
Now that you’ve discovered all there is to know about Google Voice are you willing to try this one out? Indeed, it is a handy tool when you want to add a second number or hide your number from other people that you rarely interact with. After all, having secure and safe transactions for your personal and business is a must nowadays. We have highlighted only the essential and unique features of Google Voice that are significant for daily use. The ultimate advantage is that it is 100% free to install and configure. You will only need minimal fees to call someone abroad and to access some of its premium features.
Do you have any firsthand experience with Google Voice? What are some of its noteworthy features? What aspects of it do you think to need improvement? Please share some of your insights in the comments below!