A Google Voice number is a free service from Google. The service gives you the opportunity to make and receive calls, customize your voicemail, send text messages, read text transcripts of your voicemails, and more.
You’ll get a phone number on signing up with Google Voice. That number connects to your devices and can work on your VoIP lines (making it possible to make calls via your PC), mobile phones, work phones, and desk phones.
Although you’ll get most Google Voice features for free, it has paid features. Call recording, for example, works on paid accounts only.
Note: Google Voice numbers are available to users in the US only.
How to Get a Google Voice Number
Getting a Google Voice number working takes a similar procedure across devices.
1. If you don’t already have a Google account, go to the Google accounts web page to get a Gmail account.
2. Go to the Google Voice Signup page to follow the process explained below.
3. Click on “Get Google Voice,” and it takes you to “Welcome to Google Voice.” as seen below.
5. On the next page you’ll choose a Google Voice number. You can find and choose your Google Voice number by entering your desired area code or city.
I chose a Google Voice number for Compton, California.
6. Next, you’ll link your Google Voice number to your regular U.S. phone number for verification purposes.
7. Enter your phone number in the box and click “Send Code.” Enter the code and click “Confirm,” then click “Finish.”
You can now make and receive calls using your Google Voice number. Download the Google Voice app to your smartphone to begin enjoying your Google phone number.
If you use Android, you’ll need one more app, the Hangouts dialer (no longer available).
Google Voice Call Rates
You can use your the Google Voice mobile app or web app to make international and domestic calls in the U.S. Calls in North America (U.S. and Canada) are free for all local and outbound Google Voice calls.
However, you’ll have to pay $0.01 per minute if you call from other countries. International call rates vary per country.
Using Google Voice on Your iOS Devices
You can manage your Google Voice account from your iOS devices. For the iPhone you can use a Google Voice for iPhone app. The iPhone app has suffered poor ratings from users. Use the Hangouts app instead of the Google Voice app if you find the iPhone app unpleasant.
Features and Types of Google Voice Accounts
You can set up Google Voice for free and get Google Voice apps for free as well. However, if you want features like number porting or making international calls to some countries, you’ll have to pay. A Google Voice account has these features:
- Call routing
- Call blocking
- Switch phone devices while receiving a call
- Voicemail notifications via SMS or email
- PC-to-PC video and voice calling worldwide for free
- Voicemail transcribed to text
- Conference calling
- Set which phones should ring based on your caller
- PC-to-phone calling within North America for free
- Google Voice call recording
- Google Voice text/Google Voice SMS messaging
- Cheap international phone calls
- Customize your specific callers’ voicemail greeting messages
- Listen in on voicemails before deciding to answer calls
A Google Voice number gives you plenty of room for customization. You can receive calls from all your phones or specific phones.
You can use your device’s data plan to receive calls on Hangouts when you’re not on the web. To receive calls using your data plan, verify costs with your mobile service provider. Google provides (and updates) steps for getting each Google Voice feature to work on your Computer, your Android-enabled devices, and iOS devices.
Google Voice Lite
This is a voicemail-only service. It gives users one voicemail for all their mobile phones. This account allows users to add other phone numbers to a Google Voice account, and then to set up features like voicemail transcripts, personalized greetings, and more.
Google Voice Lite makes a user’s voicemail work like an email. You can store voicemails in an inbox where they can be accessed online and via mobile phones. Of course, you can always upgrade from Google Voice Lite when you see a need to do so.
Google Voice on Sprint
This account type is specific to Sprint phones. If you use a Sprint phone, you can use that as your Google Phone number and remove the need to have a different phone number from Google Voice.
You can also replace your Sprint phone number with your Google Voice number. So if you have a Google Voice number you want to keep, you can do so.
You can port your mobile number to Google Voice. Porting your existing number to Google Voice gives you all the customization you need, so you don’t have to get a separate Google Voice number. You’ll have to pay a fee to port your number.
For those staying in the US, Google Voice is one that is good for saving costs. Set it up on your device, and leave a comment about your experience with your Google Voice below.