5 Awesome Things You Can Do With Google Voice

google voice tricks   5 Awesome Things You Can Do With Google Voice Blog 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

   5 Awesome Things You Can Do With 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.

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.

   5 Awesome Things You Can Do With Google Voice

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.

   5 Awesome Things You Can Do With Google Voice

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.

   5 Awesome Things You Can Do With 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.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

48 Comments -

Blake Barker

You’ve got some neat tricks there! Like it. However, when making free and unlimited calls, this can’t be done with the iPhone app…. it still uses carrier minutes. Any way around that? Using Google Vocie, not having to pay an in-app purchase?

Justin Pot

You can only make free calls on your computer at this time, so far as I know.

KWOTE SCRIPTURES

You can make free calls from the app as long as you have a data plan for your iPhone. I use it all of the time.

Justin Pot

Good to know!

Graham

you can make calls with google voice for free by utilizing a great app called GVoice (third party) on Android. When you make a long distance call, the app checks the number in a filter you previously set up and it will tell your voice account to call you, then connect you to the number you dialed. Your call is actually classified as incoming now, so if your cell plan includes incoming calls, your call is free.

LD

With a home pbx server (very minimum hardware requirements) and a google voice number you can create your own home phone line (or business phone line) over your internet connection with no monthly fee.

Michael Ferry

A company called Obihai (obihai.com) makes a gizmo you can hook up to your network and plug in a standard oldschool phone and it’ll hook you up to your Google Voice account. They’re under $50 and insanely simple to set up. I’ve been using one for several months and it’s awesome. I’d considered a PBX server for a while but didn’t want to bother with the hassle of setting up and configuring it, then this thing came along…

LD

That’s good to know.

I am actually running my pbx server in a VM. and pbx in a flash is pretty easy to set up.

Jd

It doesn’t cost to set up a caller id to show a number you want when calling out in Skype as long as you buy minutes.

Justin Pot

I guess you just need to use up a minute or so. Good tip!

Peter

5 Awesome Things You Can NOT Do With Google Voice outside the US of A: see above.

Justin Pot

Yeah, it sucks that the service is still USA only. You’d think by now they’d expand to Canada and Europe, at least…

art

I agree…i’m over here in the Philippines (Manila). The call center, BPO and outsourcing capital of the world and we still can’t get friggin Google Voice over here.

Art

Justin Pot

The thing is, it can’t be cheap for Google to buy up all these numbers and subsidize all these free calls. They probably want to see if the idea can become profitable before setting it up anywhere else.

Tareq

Dude you can get a US number if you want on google voice i did it 2 days ago and now i can call my girlfriend for free from my gmail , and its a little tricky to do but not that hard :) and free txt’s ftw !

Tom Sobieski

When will Google Play hit Mexico ????

Wyatt

Where I live, there is no cell service, so I have my google voice setup so that I can receive and make calls through gmail. Problem is, im not always around my computer when im at home. Do you know if there is anyway to have your handset ring as well (its on wifi of course)?

Justin Pot

If your handset is Android, the Google Voice app can do this. I think the iPhone one can as well, but am not sure. I don’t believe there is an app with notifications for any other platform.

Sam

Check out Talkatone on iPhone, and GrooveIP on Android for Wi-Fi GV calls.

DB

Talktone works great on WiFi or data cell calls- I’m in Canada- authenticated Google Voice while in U.S. (I have US Paypal too as I set up)- Anyway, have a Canadian iPhone and can text, call, etc on Talktone- (so over the net on iPhone) or Goggle Voice app (over the net on iPhone)- the Google app can seem to be a little more skittish on the iPhone – or vis versa depending on text or voice mail – they seem to switch off a bit but Talktone is best for just dialing direct from my iPhone… but, then, you can also set up Google voice to forward to (ring) your home phone land line in Canada – works great (watch how you set home-lines number of rings for pick up and Google voice’s number of rings).

So Google voice rings my iPhone (over home WiFi or over internet data plan when out and about) and my home telephone land line at the same time.

art

OK….even though I do have gmail and Google IDs, I’m in the Philippines so I can NOT use Google Voice….right?

Art

Justin Pot

There are tricks you could use to get a Google Voice account, but even if you did you’d only have a US number and could only forward to US phones. So basically, no.

art (in Manila)

thanks for the reply Justin…

Regarding me starting my outsourcing business over here in Manila…

If I’m dealing w/ clients in the US, and want a US presence…wouldn’t it be useful to have a GV # forwarded to my Skype #?

Regards,
Art Williams

Justin Pot

This will only work if your Skype number is a US number, in which case Google Voice won’t help you very much.

Kara

Can I send text messages from my gmail account if I do not have a cell phone? If yes how do I do that and do they have to have a gmail account to do so???

Justin Pot

If you’re in America, yes! Just head to google.com/voice to get started.

Justin Pot

You can send a message to any SMS number in the US and Canada using this. Their responses will go to your Google Voice account.

Free International Phone Calls

You can make free calls from the app as long as you have a data plan for your iPhone. I use it all of the time.

Richard

My Google voice number is forwarded to my cell phone. Is there away to have the Google number appear as my caller ID when I make calls from my mobile phone?

Justin Pot

It depends entirely on your phone. I know I can’t do it on mine, but it may be possible on some phones. Sorry I can’t provide you with more information than that…

james

if you have an android phone download the google voice app. Then you can set your phone to display your google voice number.

TaNeesh

Hi,
I am trying to use google voice as our home number so that whenever someone calls our google voice number it will be forwarded to both my husband and my phone. However what has happen is that since I had added my husband number as a forwarding number, I have been getting all of voicemails in my email inbox and his voicemail greeting has been changed to the greeting people would hear if they called us via the google voice number. Do you know how to change this? Thanks

Justin Pot

People who call the Google Voice number should end up at your Google Voice voicemail; that’s how it works.

There is no reason calls to your husband’s phone should wind up in Google Voice, however. Did he set up call forwarding? That’s the only reason I can think of.

Todd

Hey I been using google voice for a while and thought you might be able to help. As soon as I connected my iPad to google voice my computer wont receive calls anymore? I tried this a few times and deleted the GV App on my iPad and then my computer gets incoming calls. As soon as I reinstall the app on my iPad and connect it my computer wont get incoming calls. I can call out. I get incoming calls on my phone and Ipad only. Any thoughts or Ideas. I even paid a tech guy thats knows google voice very well and he couldn’t figure it out.

Justin Pot

Go to Google Voice itself on your computer and check the settings. The Google Voice app for iOS/Android is primarily meant for phones, so settings can get messed up if you turn on notifications.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).