5 Awesome Things You Can Do With Google Voice

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google voiceBlog from your phone, call Canada for free or use your computer to make free phone calls. Google Voice isn’t the easiest Google service to explain to non-techies, partially because it can be used for so many different things. Find a short list of those things below.

Using only a phone to manage voicemail is old fashioned: Google Voice does a much better job. Manage your voicemail on your computer or phone, and enjoy unlimited free texting within the US and Canada. It’s a service no human should be without, but which is sadly (still) limited to humans who reside in the United States of America. Google, remedy this!

Find below just a few advanced Google Voice tricks. Know some more? Leave them in the comments below the article and share them with the world.

Blog From Your Phone

google voice

Imagine being able to blog by phone, from anywhere. It’s not farfetched: our very own Ryan devised a method of voice blogging. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great way to get in a quick blog post from the road. Check out Ryan’s phone-blogging method here.

Free Calls and Texts To Canada

My cell phone has no concept of long distance, provided I’m calling or texting a US number. It’s another matter when I call or text my native Canada: that costs extra. Good thing I have Google Voice: it allows me to call or text Canada for free.

I can do this one of two ways. The first is to call my Google Voice number from my cell phone, then call Canada from that. It’s easy, but requires some extra dialing.

The second way requires some setup, but works very well: have your Canadian friend send a text message to your Google Voice number. Assuming you’ve set up Google Voice to forward texts to your phone, you will now have an American number you can use to reach your Canadian friend. Save this new number and you can call your friend as though it were a domestic call, anytime.

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I use this trick a lot for reaching my family in Canada, and I love it. Hopefully it works for you as well.

Free Calls From Your Browser

This isn’t exactly a secret, but many people don’t seem to realize it: you can make free phone calls from within Gmail, provided you’re calling a number inside the US or Canada.

Even cooler: if your Google Voice number is your primary phone number, you can pick up your phone calls in Gmail. You just need to turn on chat and install the Google video chat browser extension.

google voice app

Another related but also lesser-known trick: you can add any phone number to a Google Plus Hangout, allowing you to include people without Internet access in your conversations.

Combine Google Voice and Skype

Skype is a very affordable way to make long distance phone calls, but there is one problem with it: unless you set up a call display number you appear as “unknown caller” on the phone of the person you’re trying to reach. Many people will, assuming you’re a scam artist, and refuse to pick up.

You can buy a phone number from Skype to avoid this. Or, if you don’t want to spend money on a subscription, you can set up your Skype account to display your Google Voice number for call display. That way people you call will see a real phone number.

google voice app

You might consider doing this even if you’ve paid Skype for an incoming number: people will call you back at your Google Voice number instead of your Skype number, meaning you’ll get the call on all of your phones instead of just Skype.

Add a Voicemail Feature To Your Blog

Want to hear from the people who read your blog? Add a voicemail button to it. This allows people to leave you a voicemail without telling the world your phone number. People who visit your site can enter their phone number and, in one click, connect their phone to your voicemail inbox.

google voice

Read the full instructions for setting up a voicemail feature on your blog here.

Other Cool Tricks

Of course, there are many more cool things you can do with Google Voice. Ryan outlined several of them in 2010, and his tricks still work very well. They are:

  • Integrating Google Voice for all mobile calls
  • Listening in to your voicemail in real time
  • Automatic transcriptions of all voicemails
  • Recording phone calls
  • Custom greetings for different groups of people

Don’t miss those tips; check out Ryan’s article.

Know of some other cool Google Voice hacks? Please: leave them in the comments below. I can’t wait to learn from you.

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Comments (48)
  • Carol Dickinson

    Can you make conference calls on Gmail? I made a conference call earlier this year of 2012… but I tried the other day and Gmail told me it could not make that call…. BUT it could be because it was through a conference call set up number they did not recognize maybe? Oh… I think I remember how we connected earlier this year… we had to get on a special website… I think… cause I don’t remember dailing through using Gmail… I think (it was a while back at the beginning of the year).

  • APoorDude

    I D’ont get the free calls part, can someone explain it to me?

    • Justin Pot

      You can make free calls from Gmail, if you have chat turned on and the video plugin for GChat installed. USA/Canada only; any other country and you have to pay.

      You can also connect your landline. Just enter the phone you want to call in Google Voice and click “Call”. Your phone will ring, and when you pick it up you will be connected with the person you’re trying to call.

    • Justin

      Can you use google voice for Conference calling? I want to use it for my company I need to be able to add about 20 to 30 people at a time.

    • Justin Pot

      Not really.

  • Maria

    So, just to clarify. If I am not in the US I cannot, by any means at all, make a phone call with Google Voice? I quit harping over getting a US number from this side of the world.

    • Justin Pot

      If you could get an account (tip: VPN and/or proxy) you could use that to make free calls to the USA, if I’m not mistaken. You could also pay to make calls to any country on earth; rates vary.

  • Alexandra

    YOU DON’T NEED SKYPE, AN IPHONE, A SPECIAL APP OR EVEN A COMPUTER TO MAKE CALLS FROM YOUR GV ACCOUNT. Just call your GV number from the phone you forward your calls to. The operator will tell you if you have any waiting voice mail followed by an invitation to dial 2 and a number you’d like to call. Dial 2 then the area code and number, (no 1 prefix needed), and you’ll hear the operator say “this is a free call” and the number will ring through. Talk as long as you want and your computer doesn’t even need to be on. Sweet, huh?

    • Justin Pot

      That is true! I prefer Skype because I don’t have a land line and don’t like using up minutes on my phone, but this is perfect for people with consistent access to a phone line.

    • Mo

      Quick question…..so if you have an android phone and a data plan, couldnt you just use google voice to make calls and obtain the cheapest minute plan a company has? Or when you are talking through the google voice app does that count as cell phone minutes also???? I would assume not if it is using data…..right? That could be a huge way to save on cell phone bills??

    • Justin Pot

      If you’re talking through a VOIP app like Google Voice or Skype it counts towards your data plan, not your minutes. So yes, you could in theory use this to save money.

  • joseph zayzay

    it is not working for me I don’t have call coming in

    • Justin Pot

      That’s odd, but I’m unclear: what were you trying to do? Let me know and I’ll see if I can help.

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.