Mobile

Everything you need to know about voice platform

Google Voice is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service, which means it allows voice calls over a broadband internet connection. You can use the service to make and receive phone calls and text messages. While it might seem like a regular phone line, it has a few more advantages. You get the Voice number instantly and can forward calls to multiple numbers simply by flipping a toggle. Plus, the pricing is as affordable as it gets.

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Whether you have a top-of-the-line Android phone, use an iPhone, or want to use it on a laptop, here’s everything you need to know about Google Voice.

To use the Google Voice features, you must have a Google account and an existing US phone number.

How to set up Google Voice on a PC

Setting up Google Voice on a PC for the first time is simple. Here’s a rundown:

  1. Visit the Google Voice website at voice.google.com.
  2. Click the sign in button in the upper-right corner of the display to log in to your Google account.

  3. Accept the terms and services. You’re prompted to select a Google Voice number.

  4. Select your state code, and choose a phone number from the list of options.

  5. Verify your existing number, which will be linked to the Google Voice account. You’ll receive a text code to complete the verification.

  6. Cap claim and then select Finish to take control of the number officially.

How to set up Google Voice on a phone

Google voice works on both iPhones and Android devices. To use it:

  1. Download and launch the Google Voice app from the Play Store for Android or from the App Store for iPhone.
  2. Select the Google account you want to log in with using the drop-down arrow on the right.
  3. Tap the Continue as (name) button at the bottom of the screen. A welcome banner displays.
  4. Cap continue in the lower-right corner of the display. You’re prompted to select a Google Voice number.

  5. Cap Search in the lower-right corner of the screen.
  6. Choose a location.

  7. Select a Google Voice number from the list.
  8. Cap Accept number in the lower-right corner of the screen.

  9. Cap Next and grant Voice permission to make and manage phone calls.
  10. Enter the phone number you want to connect to your Google Voice number.

  11. Enter the verification code texted to your phone and select Verify.
  12. Cap claim to confirm the linkage, and then tap Finish.

How to use Google Voice

The Google Voice experience is just like using your default Phone app, but with more flexibility. You can make calls from the Calls tab by typing the number or selecting one from your address book if you’ve granted the necessary permissions. If your Google Voice number is forwarded to your phone, you’re alerted that someone is calling the Google Voice number when a call comes in through it.

When initiating calls, you can choose to display your Google Voice number, instead of your mobile number, on the person’s caller ID. You can also set the number to ring multiple devices for corporate settings where multiple people may be licensed to answer the company’s line. For individuals with multiple lines (such as a home landline, business phone, and personal smartphone), it merges the communication channels and prevents bouncing between numbers and devices.

You can set up and receive voicemails, just like your US carrier, via the app and have a transcript and a recording sent to your email. There’s also a Messages tab for sending and receiving texts through the app using Wi-Fi or cellular data. Messages to US or Canadian residents are free. However, your mobile phone company may charge extra roaming fees to contact people outside the US or when Wi-Fi is disconnected.

How much does Google Voice cost?

For the most part, Google Voice is free to install and use, provided you communicate with US and Canadian numbers using your Google Voice number. However, calls to certain remote locations in either country may cost a token of 1 cent per minute. While calls made in the US are primarily free, it’s worth noting that Google makes most of its money from its services and not through fees and subscriptions. So, you’re pretty much paying with your data anyway.

Calls made anywhere else cost money, with per-minute rates that vary between countries, and are subject to change. The fees are minimal for the majority of countries, costing a couple of cents per minute. If you plan to call a foreign location, check Google’s handy tool for call rates. You’ll need credit in your account to make paid international calls with Google Voice.

Use Google Voice to unify all your lines

Google Voice has many useful features, but the standout experience, useful to individuals and companies, is the ability to forward calls to multiple phone lines. However, you can’t use Google Voice without a US number. So, if you’d rather forward calls on US carriers, check out our guide on the topic.

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