Until just a couple of days ago, Google Voice numbers were given out on an invite only basis to make sure that the kinks were worked out of the system before the general public could use it. Now it is available to everyone.
I will describe some of the features that Google Voice has, and then go through the set-up step by step.
Why would you want a Google Voice number? I mean, you have a perfectly fine phone number the way it is. Really, Im not trying to sell you on this Google stuff, but I think some of these features are just really awesome…some of my favorite features include:
• It is free
• You can have multiple phones ring with the one Google Voice number. You can set it up (if you want) so that a call to this number will go to your home phone, your cell phone, and your work phone all at the same time. I currently have it set up so that 3 different numbers will ring my cell phone. Eventually the number I have for business will ring to my cell, the office phone, and another person’s cell so reduce the possibility of missing any calls.
• You can also make it so that if someone calls your Google Voice number, it can ring to a different phone depending on what time it is, or even depending on who is calling you. So I could set it up so that if a family member called this number, it would ring to every phone, but if a business associate called, it would not ring at my home phone.
• Speaking of having different settings depending on who is calling you, you can actually have different voicemail greetings for different individuals or groups in your contacts, and you can set it to block certain numbers, or have certain numbers go straight to voicemail.
• One of the best voicemail features is that messages are transcribed to text that you can read on your phone (say if you are in a meeting or at the movies and cant listen to your messages), and they are also saved to your Google account, so you can save your message forever, and even be able to use a search engine to find the message you are looking for months later.
• Need someone else to hear a voice message? You can email it to them from your Google account.
• You can now screen calls. I am sure some of you remember answering machines, when you could listen to someone leaving a message and then decide whether you want to answer it or not. With your Google Voice number you can do this again.
Check out the video below for more information on these features.
To set up your new Google Voice number –
1. On the Google homepage, make sure that you are signed into your gmail account (and if you don’t have a gmail account, you def want one. It is also free and amazing).
2. Type “voice” into the search box, the first result will be for Google Voice
3. Make sure the gmail account you want this phone number associated with is the one that pops up. Type in your password for that account and press enter.
4. You will be asked to choose which new number you want. Know that it is highly unlikely that you will come across any extremely easy numbers like (111) 111-1111. But if you can get something that repeats numbers, or only has a few different numbers in it, then that’s pretty good.
I wanted to have a (540) area code to make sure people calling about real estate saw it was from the area, so the best number I could find was (540) 440-1141. Additionally, I got a number with a phrase that was easy to remember.
5. To search for what numbers are available, you can enter the area code, city, or zip code that you prefer. You can also type in a number you like (example 3700) or a word or phrase (example FLOYDVA) and see if anything is available.
Once you decide on your number, click continue.
6. Choose a 4 digit PIN for checking your voicemail. Re-enter it, check the box agreeing to the terms of service, and click continue.
7. Add a phone number to forward calls to. This should be your “normal” phone number, most likely your current cell phone number. You can add more numbers later. Click continue.
8. You will be asked to verify that the forwarding phone number is your actual number. To do this click the button that says “Call Me Now”. When you answer the phone, type in the 2 digit code that you see on your screen.
And you now have your very own Google Voice number. If there are any questions feel free to leave comments here.