While Google Voice did not make our list of the best VoIP phone services for businesses, it is an excellent, cost-effective solution that can work well for personal or business use, especially if you use other Google products. Our best choice for a VoIP service is Nextiva. However, that does not mean that it is the right thing for you. Keep reading to learn more about how Google Voice works and to see if it fits well.
Why you should use Google Voice
Many people juggle multiple phones. Almost everyone has a cell phone number that is used for various things, but primarily for personal reasons.
Some people may have another phone number dedicated exclusively to work-related communication.
Others may have a landline phone in their office or at home.
And then there are a few who may also have a landline phone number at home for personal calls. Balancing and jumping between all these different numbers and phones is not the easiest way to manage multiple numbers.
Google Voice introduces a new way to simplify.
With it, you can forward all your numbers to a single number so that you can answer calls from all your different phone numbers on the same device.
Google Voice is a favorite among small and large business owners.
It simplifies phone calls for everyone and brings everything together in one place.
You may feel that the last thing you want to do is get another phone number.
However, a Google Voice phone number may be the last number you will ever need. This phone service is perfect for merging multiple communication channels into one place. And that’s just one of its many extra features.
Here’s the reason why you should stop carrying more phones and use this VoIP instead.
You can take and make calls from Gmail
If you have a Gmail account, even a free one, you can make calls to the US and Canada directly from your inbox for free. The problem is that every time you call, you are assigned a random phone number that the recipient does not recognize – and most people even ignore calls from unknown numbers.
With Google Voice, you solve that problem right away. All your Gmail calls come from your Google Voice number, so recipients know who is calling and are more likely to answer.
To sweeten the deal, you can also answer calls in Gmail and Google Hangouts, directly from your computer.
2. You get free unlimited texts
Free SMS is included in the Google Voice service. If you prefer to send text messages from your phone, you can do so via the Google Voice app and do not need an unofficial third-party app to do so. You can also send text messages through either the Google Voice Web site or the Google Voice Chrome extension.
One of the bonuses of the text feature on Google Voice is that if you need to reset your phone or get a new one, you will not lose your text messages. You can search the archive of your texts online to track the information you may need.
3. You can divert all your calls to one number
Your Google Voice number allows you to divert your calls to other numbers. This is convenient when it’s time to get a new phone or switch mobile phone provider. All you have to do is get a new mobile phone number and forward your Google Voice number to it, or forward it to your old existing phone number.
Google also allows you to transfer your existing phone number to Google Voice so you do not have to share your Google Voice number with everyone. Although this feature comes at an extra cost, it may be worth it for you.
4. Your voice messages are transcribed
Not only does Google Voice come with voicemail, but it takes things a step further and uses its advanced speech recognition technology to transcribe your voicemail into text. You have the option of either reading the text or listening to the answering machine. This is a great feature for those who need to decide if a voicemail is important enough to leave a meeting, or for people who hate listening to voicemails.
5. You can listen to voicemails while they are being left behind
A smart feature of this phone service is that you can listen to voicemails when someone leaves them. Not only that, but you can also decide mid-voicemail to answer the phone by simply pressing the star key.
6. You can configure call forwarding rules
This service lets you forward all your numbers and calls to a single Google Voice number. However, that is not all. You can set specific rules for the calls to determine which calls go where and when.
Say, for example, that you play golf for the day and do not want to be bothered. You can set up rules to have all calls to your cell phone forwarded to your office during the hours you have to play golf.
Another option is to set the order of importance with phones if you need to make sure you get a call. This means that someone trying to reach you can call your Google Voice number, and you have it set up to go to your home phone first, then your work phone if you do not answer at home, and then your cell phone if you do not answer. do not respond to the other two. Or you can have all the numbers ring at the same time, which is a great feature for small business owners or independent contractors.
7. You can record calls
Google Voice allows you to easily record calls and allows you to start and stop recording at the touch of a button. You can easily access the recordings online at any time. This is an excellent feature for important meetings and interviews that take place over the phone. They can be saved and referenced when needed.
8. You can easily change phone
A unique feature of this service is that you can switch phones in the middle of a call. Simply press the star key and the other phones you have connected to your Google Voice will ring and you can pick up any of them. You can literally continue where you left off with a good chance that the person on the other end of the phone will never know that something has changed.
How Google Voice works
All of the above features can work thanks to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This technology allows you to use a broadband Internet connection to make calls instead of a telephone line.
What happens when you make a call with your Google Voice number is that it converts your voice into a digital signal traveling over the Internet. With a VoIP service like Google Voice, you can make calls directly from a computer.
Only an Internet connection is required to make phone calls through Google Voice.
What you need for Google Voice
All you need to set up Google Voice is a valid Google Account and a phone number in the US or Canada (either mobile or landline). This phone number is what Google uses to verify your identity and as a forwarding number.
When you make calls from the United States and are used by one person, almost all Google Voice numbers to the United States and Canada are free.
But if you want more features and more access, you will want to look at the different pricing options. Here are the features and costs of the different plans.
For free. This pricing plan is free of charge and allows one user in one home (US or Canada).
Starter. This price plan costs 10 USD per. user per month and allows you up to 10 users in 10 different home locations under one account.
Free calls to the US from any country Free calls to Canada from any country Unlimited SMS in the USAGoogle Fi compatibility Voicemail transcriptionGoogle Calendar integrationGoogle Meet integrationMobile app for both Android and iOSWeb app support around the clockService level agreementUsage and activity reporting Call forwarding
The start-up plan is best for small businesses and entrepreneurs with 10 employees or less.
Standard. This pricing plan costs $ 20 per person. user per month and allows an unlimited number of users in unlimited domestic sites under one account.
You get all the things included in the Starter plan, as well as:
Automatic multi-level operation Call groups Supports desk phone Discovery for calls, voicemail and SMS records
The standard plan is best for domestic companies of any size.
Premier. This pricing plan costs $ 30 per user per month. It allows you to have an unlimited number of users in unlimited domestic locations and unlimited international locations under one account. You get all the things included in the standard plan and advanced reporting and data regions.
The Premier plan is best for larger international companies.
Getting started with Google Voice
Getting Google Voice set up is a fairly quick and easy process.
Step 1: Sign in to Google
Sign in to your Google Account.
Step 2: Select Google Voice Phone Number
Go to voice.google.com. From here, select a phone number in your area that you want to create as your Google Voice number.
Search for your city name or area code to see which numbers are available. If there are no available numbers in your area, try somewhere nearby.
Step 3: Confirm existing phone number
Once you have found the number you want, click Select. Next, you will be asked to confirm your existing number. To do this, click on Confirm and enter the number you want Google to forward your calls to (your existing mobile number). Click Submit Code.
Once Google has called or texted the code, enter it online and click Confirm.
Step 4: Finish the setup on the computer
To confirm that the number you confirmed is actually the number you want your calls forwarded to, click Claim.
You will have the option to change this number later if you need to.
Click Finish twice and you’re ready to use Google Voice on your computer.
Step 5: Download the Google Voice apps
Next, you will get Google Voice to work on your phone. Navigate to the App Store and download the Google Voice app from either the Apple App Store (iPhone) or the Google Play Store (Android).
How to make your first Google Voice call
Making your first call with Google Voice is a straightforward process that almost feels like calling someone on a normal phone. It can be done either from your computer or your smartphone.
Either go to voice.google.com on your computer or open the Voice app on your phone.
Navigate to the “Calls” tab. If the person you want to call is on your recent call list, hover over their name / number and tap the phone icon to call them. You can also call someone from your contact list on the right side. Or you can dial manually using the keypad.
In order for your Google Voice number to remain active, you must make at least one call or text message per month. Failure to do so will result in the loss of your Google Voice number after 30 days of inactivity. In that case, sign up for a new number the next time you log in.