6 Cool Things You Can Do With Google Voice
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Google Voice revolutionizes the way we make phone calls—it allows you to combine your home, personal phone, and business phone into one device. You might not be able to replace your cellular device with Google Voice, but it’s still a reliable option when you don’t want to spend the money on an additional phone number.

So, what is Google Voice, and what advantages does it have? Here, we’ll introduce you to the basics of Google Voice, and tell you about its coolest features.

How Does Google Voice Work?

In short, Google Voice is a free phone service that allows you to send and receive calls and texts from your mobile device or computer. You can even create a VoIP phone using Google Voice How to Make a VoIP Phone With Google Voice Using Google Voice, you can turn any inactive phone into a fully functional VoIP phone for free. Here's everything you need to know to get started. Read More .

Fortunately, Google Voice is extremely simple to set up. After you sign up for an account on Google Voice, select a new phone number, and input your current phone number, you can start making calls from your Google Voice number. Better yet, you can even connect one or more of your phones to your Google Voice number (which we’ll get into later).

You can use Google Voice to make calls and send texts over Wi-Fi. If Wi-Fi isn’t available, you can still use a small amount of mobile data from your cellular plan to make calls. This prevents your calls from eating up minutes on your phone plan.

1. Integrate Google Voice for All Mobile Calls and Texts

Google Voice Forward Calls

What can Google Voice do, and what is Google Voice used for? One of the main features of the service is its ability to forward calls to one or many phones How to Use Call Forwarding on iPhone and Android Want to set up call forwarding on your smartphone? Here's how to use and troubleshoot this handy feature on Android and iOS. Read More .

Once you sign up with Google Voice, you’ll want to install the mobile app onto your phone. Google Voice offers integrated mobile apps for both Android and iPhones. As soon as you install Voice on your phone, you can check your voicemail, send and receive calls or texts, as well as check your current account balance.

Most importantly, you can receive calls on your mobile phone from your Google number. You can also dial out from your cell phone using the app, and people will see your Google Voice number, not your cell phone number.

Just call with your Google Voice number, and your call will get routed through your Voice account. Why is this useful? Imagine you’re starting a new business and you’d like a unique number that you can route to different phones depending on who’s calling.

Create one group of contacts that rings your phone, a second group that rings your mobile, and so on. Perhaps you’d like a call to your Google Voice number to ring multiple phones at once—Google Voice makes this possible as well.

2. Screen Your Calls

Google Voice Screen Calls

Remember the days when you had an answering machine, and when a caller would start leaving a message, you would also hear the voice from the speaker? With the advent of digital voicemail, that ability to screen calls by listening to the beginning of the message is a disappearing luxury.

Well, Google brings it back by allowing you to screen calls. Callers from an unknown number will get asked to speak their name. That way, you know who’s calling before you pick up. To enable call screening, head to your Google Voice Settings, click on Calls, and find the Screen Calls option. Make sure Screen Calls is toggled on.

Once you hear the caller’s name, you have the option to handle the call in a variety of ways. You can press 1 to immediately accept, 2 to immediately send to voicemail, and * if you want to jump into the call.

3. Automatic Transcription of Every Voicemail

Google Voice Voicemail Transcription

If you’re not able to listen to a voicemail, Google Voice provides voicemail transcription. This allows you to read someone’s message instead of listening to a long, rambling voicemail. Google Voice can also send transcribed voicemails to your email. To ensure this feature is on, go to your Google Voice Settings > Voicemail and toggle on the Get voicemail via email option.

While the bugs aren’t quite all worked out of the system yet, the Google voicemail transcription feature works well enough that you can pretty much understand what the person is saying. In addition to receiving voicemail transcriptions by email, you can also check your voicemails either from your computer or from your phone.

4. Record Phone Calls

Google Voice Record Calls
Make sure it’s legal where you live, but another option when you have an incoming call is to accept and record the call. When you answer, press the number 4 to record phone calls on your iPhone, Android, computer, or tablet. This is useful for interviews, police interrogations, or simply to have a record of the conversation.

When you start recording, you and the caller will hear an announcement that the recording has started. There’s no transcription available for recorded conversations, so you’ll need to log into your Voice account, head to your voicemails, and replay the conversation. You can even download it as an MP3 file.

5. Customize Greetings and Other Group Settings

Google Voice Legacy Groups

You can customize Google Voice even more by changing the way Voice handles and routes your phone calls. It essentially acts as a personal secretary—a phone switchboard that can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.

The old version of Google Voice let you set different voicemail greetings for different callers. While this feature isn’t available with the new version of Google Voice, you can still assign greetings by using the Legacy Version of Google Voice. Access the Legacy version from your computer by heading to the Google Voice menu in the top left corner of your screen. At the bottom of the menu, click Legacy Google Voice to open it.

Under Settings > Groups, you can create any group that you like, and edit individual settings as shown above. Select what phone (or phones) should ring, select (or record) a special greeting, and you can even disable call screening for a particular group.

6. Filter Spam

Google Voice Spam Filter

Tired of getting constant robocalls? When you receive calls on your non-Google Voice number, your caller ID might read “Scam Likely.” Otherwise, you won’t even know which numbers are safe to answer.

Fortunately, Google Voice has a filter for spam calls and texts. When Google suspects a phone number is spam, it’ll transfer any voicemails, calls, and texts to your Spam folder. You can turn on this feature by navigating to the Google Voice Settings > Security and turning on Filter Spam.

Why Use Google Voice?

It’s easy to see the benefits of Google Voice. Whether you use your Google Voice number for your business, or as a personal number, it can save you both time and money.

If you want even more options when it comes to calling, check out the best free calling apps for making free phone calls The 5 Best Free Calling Apps for Making Free Phone Calls Free calling apps provide free phone calls and texting. Here are some great options for Android and iPhone. Read More .

Explore more about: Google Voice, Voice Message, Voicemail.

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  1. infmom
    February 24, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    I have been using Google Voice since nearly the beginning.
    It is a legitimate phone number through which I can be reached. It reveals nothing about me or my geographical area. I have it set to "do not disturb" all the time, and it sends me reasonably accurate transcripts of any message that someone might leave.
    To me it's the ultimate in privacy.

  2. Anonymous
    June 21, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    I use Google Voice as my work phone number, then connect it to my cell phone. This way, when I am on vacation or out of the office, I can set Google voice to take messages rather than forward to my cell. I can even change the greeting callers hear to say I am out of the office. Its a great way to avoid interruptions on vacation, and I can still review the text message in case its something I want to address promptly.

  3. Anonymous
    May 11, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Another interesting use : you can set up to forward your cell phone calls to google voice when out of the country. "network forwarding on " You then automatically get transcribed emails when someone calls your regular cell phone so that way you dont miss out on any regular phone calls when out of the country. You can then e mail them back or call from skype.

  4. stan
    April 13, 2010 at 10:08 am

    I have had Google Voice since it was Grand Central. Generally works great but I just added a new number and set up Google Voice to forward all calls to that new number (which no one else had at that point). Within less than a minute I started getting spam calls for credit card deals on the number. Coincidence? Or is Google selling their users numbers to third parties via some kind of automated system?

  5. nick
    March 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Just got A nexus one could anyone spare an invite

  6. Sam
    March 10, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    The only way I can see to receive calls on my cell phone from Google Voice is to have GV route the call to my cell phone. So, as far as I can tell, that is a call terminated at my cell phone (and using up cell phone minutes). The calls I make out using google voice are VOIP. Am I understanding that correctly?

  7. Amani
    March 5, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Love Google Voice. Thanks for the tip about recording a conversation. Could be very useful. How can you change the name of a caller if two different callers are calling you from the same number? (for example a place of business).

    • Ryan Dube
      March 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm

      Hey Amani - you stumped me with that one. I believe that Google voice bases identification on the phone number, so I'm not sure how that particular situation would work!

  8. MikeVertx
    March 4, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I'm sorry if it's there and I just don't see it, but what's the best way to set up a windows mobile device to beable to DIAL OUT using your google voice # and a quick way to check voicemail? also was trying to figure out how to set up group texting, help would be greatly appreciated :)

    Thanks in advance~!

  9. Tim
    March 1, 2010 at 8:49 am

    For a while, I was beleaguered with carrying around one cell phone for work and another personal one. I did not want to give out my personal number to all my work clients, nor did I want to give up my personal number. Google Voice, along with my Motorola Droid, allows me to have a two-line cell phone. I was surprised that there were not any options out there in the US market for a two-line cell phone. Even the European offerings were quite slim. My setup allows me to get calls dialed to two numbers delivered to one phone and make outgoing the same way. This is by far the best alternative out there for this situation!

  10. Mark
    February 27, 2010 at 8:57 am

    I'm so confused by Google voice.

    Is it a program that requires cloud computing or an app that runs on a Nexus One?

    If it is an app that runs on iPhones, is it just like the app that runs on Nexus One? Are the iPhone and Nexus One functionalities the same (with respect to hands free iPhone operation)?

    • Ryan Dube
      February 28, 2010 at 10:37 pm

      Mark - no app necessary. From within Google Voice you can assign the phone numbers that you want to ring when people call your Google Voice phone number. Your phone will ring without any special applications installed. The apps are only needed if you want to check your account and see if you have any voicemail.

  11. Andrew
    February 26, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    So, if i bought an unlocked phone, are there options to purchase a data plan only for my phone, so i could call and text using Voice?

    • Ryan Dube
      February 26, 2010 at 12:21 pm

      Andrew - only the Voice download that I mentioned for mobile apps require a data plan to access your account details. If you have an unlocked phone, you don't need to download anything. Just go into your Google Voice account and configure it to work with your cellphone number. Google Voice calls your phone over the cell line (not data) - so you're all set once you add the phone number to your account. Good luck!

  12. mike
    February 26, 2010 at 8:18 am

    The predecessor to Google Voice was GrandCentral. That service had a feature that allowed you to block unwanted calls by phone number. It was the equivalent of sending phone numbers to a spam box and they could not get through again. Google: where did that go? I want it back!! We know you can do it because it was there before and worked just fine.

    • Wyatt
      February 26, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      mike the block option is still there. under the message you will see Call - SMS - more. go under the more tab and you will see the block caller option. enjoy!

  13. Slipdisc
    February 25, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I knew most of his before but nonetheless there is some good info. Thanks for sharing.