Google Voice is a service provided by Google that acts as an online calling system, similar to Skype for its users. Google Voice was launched in March of 2009 and has undergone significant improvements in service over the years. Any Google Accounts user can sign up for a Google Voice service, even obtaining a local phone number to be used in conjunction with the account. At the moment, domestic calls in the United States are free for all users. International calling comes at a price that is billed monthly through Google Voice.
Our guide will show you how to get started with Google Voice and how to take steps to make it your new phone line.
How to get started with Google Voice
In order to get started with Google Voice, you want to navigate to http://voice.google.com.
From there, a pop-up will appear letting you know that Google Voice is only available in the US and will require access to a real world phone line.
You can use Google Voice in two ways: Either with your own phone number or with a digital one. Click “I want a new number” to continue.
Now, you will have to verify you have a real world phone line. Type in your phone number and what type of phone it is, then click “Continue.”
Google will verify your phone number by calling you, then asking you to input a security code. Click “Call me now” when you are ready to take that call.
Once you have completed those steps, Google Voice will let you know they have verified your account.
Now, you can choose your Google Voice number. You can choose one by using a zip code, city or area along with a word, phrase or number combination. Click “Search numbers.”
You will be given a list of numbers to go through to pick based on your search criteria.
Once you have chosen a number, click “Continue.”
Google will alert you that your number is now ready to use. Click “Finish” to start using your new Google Voice phone number.
How to set up Google Voice
Now, you are ready to start configuring your Google Voice account.
Upon logging in, you will be greeted by the main screen. A pop-up will appear on the right side, by the settings, that alerts you to Google’s use of a spam filter for calls. This can be beneficial to avoid annoying calls, telemarketers and others calling for no reason. You can opt in now or opt in later.
Click on the “Gear Icon” to enter Google Voice’s settings.
Then, click “Settings.”
There are a lot of different settings to work with before truly getting started with Google Voice.
The first step is setting up your Phones.
You can change or port your Google Voice number, along with choose where you want to forward calls to. This can be to Google Chat or your personal phone line.
Next up is the Voicemail and Text settings.
You can set up a voice mail service through Google Voice to use when people call you and you cannot answer. This includes setting up an actual voice mail greeting, choosing how you are alerted to voice mail and even opt for Google to transcribe your voice mails on your behalf.
The next set of settings relates to Calls.
Google Voice allows you to utilize Caller ID in a way to avoid giving away you using a Google Voice number. This allows you to mask the numbers when they are forwarded to your phone and elsewhere. You can also opt how to handle missed calls and spam filtering.
Now, the Groups and Circles settings, allows you to pick and choose how people already in your Google life are treated when they call or text your Google Voice number.
This allows you to screen, forward or greet them when they call or text you.
Call Widgets, the next group of settings, encourages you to use a widget on your website or blog so people can interact with you on Google Voice.
Billing is an important area of settings, especially if you opt to use Google Voice for international calling.
This area will show you how much of a calling credit balance you have, look up call rates and view your billing history.
Finally, account settings for Google Voice allow you to choose the language and time zone for your service. You can also access your overall Google Account settings from here.
Now that you have tweaked how Google Voice will work for you, you can get calling.
How to make calls and text with Google Voice
Head back to the main screen for Google Voice.
You will notice a “call” from Google Voice welcoming you to the service. There are many things we can do to interact with this call.
We can call or text back, but click “More.”
This will give you a drop-down menu of options to work with. This includes marking the call as “read” or adding a note about the caller. You can even opt to block the number entirely.
On the left-hand side of Google Voice, you will have your primary menu to work with. You can view your inbox, check out starred messages and go through sections similar to how Gmail works.
If you want to start calling right away, you can do so in one of two ways. You can either click “Call” or you can use Google Talk to make calls.
Simply enter in a number, utilize whether you want to call from Google Talk’s application or from your own phone and click “Connect.”
If you use Google Talk’s application, a small pop-in will appear at the bottom right of your screen. If you opt to use your phone, your phone will ring and you will be connected to where you are calling.
Once connected through the Google Talk platform, you can use the number pad to input information, you can mute the call and you can also end it at any time using the easy interface.
Now, you can also text from Google Voice.
Click “Text” from the main menu.
Enter a phone number and the text message, then click “Send.”
You can then click on “Text” in the left-hand menu to see a chat history through text messages.
You are now ready to use Google Voice however you see fit.
Can Google Voice work as your own phone line?
Google Voice offers you the opportunity to use a number as your own if you conduct business, chat with friends or just do not want to give out your personal phone number. As Skype has proven successful, so has Google Voice in turning someone’s computer into a phone service. Google Voice offers US residents an opportunity to use Google for more, just like they try to do with most services. If you have not given Google Voice a chance, sign up today and see how seamlessly it can work for you.