How to Create a Google Voice Number

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Have you ever heard of Google Voice? Me neither until a few months ago. Despite being a very useful tool, it never got quite the publicity that higher profile Google apps received. Google Voice offers a single phone number that can forward calls, voicemails and messages to multiple devices. It’s like a follow-me number that ensures you’re always contactable wherever you might be and whatever you might be doing.

With Google Voice you can:

  • Send SMS from your computer desktop to any of your contacts.
  • Record a voicemail and have it transcribed and emailed.
  • Screen calls and record customized greetings depending on whether it’s a professional caller or a friend.
  • Have calls forwarded to any phone.
  • Make international and conference calls.

There are only a couple of prerequisites to use Google Voice. You need a Google account, a U.S. phone number, a computer and the Google Voice app.

Most calls within the U.S. and Canada are free. The account is free and most features are free. There are charges for international calls and some advanced features such as phone number porting. Other than that, it doesn’t cost a dime.

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Create a Google Voice number

To create a Google Voice number, you will need a Google Voice account. There are several available offering different levels of service. They include:

Google Voice Number – This is the basic account that will forward calls to your Google number to all registered phones.

Google Voice Lite – This just provides the voicemail service. You can use the voicemail across registered devices, meaning you have access to voicemail from anywhere.

Google Voice on Sprint – A localized service for Sprint users. This allows you to use your allocated Sprint number as your Google number or the other way round.

Number Porting – Number porting transfers your phone number to Google. This enables you to use your existing number as your Google number. There is a cost involved in this.

Visit the Google Account type page for more information.

To get your number:

  1. Visit the Google Voice website.
  2. Log into your Google account.
  3. Select Get a voice number in the left pane if the option does not automatically appear.
  4. Select I want a new number or I want to use my mobile number.
  5. Enter your zip code and hit Search numbers to bring up a list of suitable numbers.
  6. Select a number and click Continue.
  7. Enter a memorable PIN code to secure your number and accept the terms.
  8. Add a forwarding phone to have calls and voicemails redirected.
  9. Verify the phone when prompted by clicking Call me now and entering the verification code when prompted. Type the code in your number pad during the call to verify.

During this setup process you also have the option to set up voicemail. As this is one of the strongest features of Google Voice, it makes sense to do it right away. However, if you choose to do it later, you can.

  1. Go to your Google Voice account.
  2. Select the gear icon on the right to access Settings.
  3. Select the Voicemail & Text tab.
  4. Select Voicemail greeting and then Record new greeting.
  5. Name it something meaningful and click Continue.
  6. Record your message by selecting the phone you want to use and clicking Connect.
  7. Listen to the voicemail and then click Save changes at the bottom once you’re happy.

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Google Voice custom greetings

Another cool aspect of this app are Google Voice custom greetings. Here you can set up different greetings for different callers which is helpful is you use your work phone for personal use or vice versa.

  1. Go to your Google Voice account.
  2. Select the gear icon on the right to access Settings.
  3. Select Groups and Circles and then Edit.
  4. Select the group you want to modify.
  5. Select When people in this group go to voicemail and then All contacts greeting.
  6. Select the custom greeting and then OK.
  7. Click Save to complete.
  8. Repeat this process for different groups as necessary.

Block telemarketers and cold calls with Google Voice

Finally, the ability to block cold callers or telemarketers is also exceptionally useful if your number somehow got onto one of their databases.

  1. Go to your Google Voice account.
  2. Select the gear icon on the right to access Settings.
  3. Select the Calls tab and check the box next to Global Spam Filtering.

When a telemarketer gets through, which they inevitably will, simply go into your account and mark the number as spam. Alternatively, if you accidentally mark a number as spam, you can click Not spam next to it in your spam folder within your account.

Given how useful Google Voice is, I am surprised that it hasn’t had more coverage. Nevertheless, you now know of another communications tool that can help with managing your life. I hope it helps!

Posted by Jamie on November 18, 2016

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