How to Install and use Google Voice on your Android phone

Google Voice, as reviewed here, is a service that gives you an all new way to interact with your phone, as well as the things you use it for most. Google Voice has many feature, but the few that are probably most important to most people are the unified voicemail, the ability to make and receive calls, send and receive text messages, and the voicemail transcriptions. Again, for the full review of the service, definitely check out Trevor’s article above. Now though, let’s go more in depth as to Google Voice’s integration into Google’s Android OS, including how to set it up on your phone, as well as how to make the most out of it.

What To Do First

The first step is to get a Google Voice account. Since the writing of Trevor’s article, Google Voice has been made completely open to the public (US only). So an invite is no longer necessary! Head over to http://voice.google.com and sign up! Once you’ve signed up, choose a phone number, then add your mobile to your account as a forwarding phone. Google Voice will call you to confirm that the number is yours, and you’ll be signed in. Click settings in the upper right corner, then click Voice Settings. Here, you can set up your voicemail greeting, and other cool settings. Your screen should look something like this, except your numbers won’t be blacked out!

google-voice-web-settings

Download the app

Now that you have your account ready to go, head on to the Android Market on your phone and search for Google Voice. Once you download and install it, you may want to add it to your Home screen for easy access, like I have below:

google-voice-icon

Setting up your Voice account!

Now tap the icon, and let’s set up your Google Voice account with your phone. Initially it will prompt you to find out if you want to use the Google account your phone has been set up with. For the majority of users, this will be the case, so its what we’ll go over. If you are a person who wants to use a different account, most of this tutorial will still apply anyway. Now go ahead and select your account, then continue on by clicking Sign In.

Next you’ll need to verify your phone number with Google Voice, so click Next, and the app will quickly verify that the phone number you have the app on is the same as the one you entered as your forwarding number earlier on your computer.

Lastly, you’ll need to choose what calls you want to make from your Google Voice number, as opposed to your normal cell phone number. I choose not to use Google Voice to make any calls, as I use it primarily for its outstanding voicemail services. If, however, you plan on using it to replace your phone number, or mane international calls only, you can select those options. You can also have the phone ask you which number you would like to use each time you make a call.

google-voice-settings

Setting up Voicemail

You’ll then need to decide if you want callers to hear your carrier voicemail or Google voicemail. I use Google’s as it offers a ton of options my carrier’s does not. The two main ones for me are that Google Voice transcribes my voicemails so I can read them, anywhere, any time. The second is that it allows me to have a more personal greeting, with no random woman telling my callers how to leave a message (as if they don’t already know, people have been leaving each other voicemails for years!)

google-voice-inbox

You’ve now got Google Voice set up on your phone! Whether you’re using it to make all your calls under your new number, or like me, just for voicemail and other services, let us know how it goes!  Also, be sure to let us know what extra features you use, like custom voicemail greetings for groups! Google Voice has tons of features to check out, and Google adds new ones all the time, so let us know what you discover!