You probably have one phone number for your cell phone with which you make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, and other related tasks. But sometimes you could use a second number for personal and professional phone calls and text messages. Or you might like another number to use when setting up accounts on websites.
Various options are available for getting a second phone number, some free and some paid. But one option to try is Google Voice.
With Google Voice VoIP service, you are assigned a dedicated phone number that can use the same area code as your existing phone number or general location. All phone calls made to your Google Voice number are forwarded to your regular number so that you can answer directly.
Unanswered calls go to voicemail, where Google provides voice and text transcripts for you to read and listen to. In addition, you can use this second number for phone calls and text messages not only on your phone but on the Google Voice website.
Additionally, Google Voice and all of its features are freely available for personal use. Conversely, personal service is currently only available in the United States for individuals. However, Google Voice is available to business and education users with paid Google Workspace accounts in the United States and other selected regions around the world.
To use Google Voice, you need a Google Account and an existing phone number. Now let’s check out the steps to use this option as a second phone number.
Set up Google Voice
To set your number on a computer, browse to Google Voice webpage(Opens in new window) and sign in with your Google Account. You can use any of the main ones browsers, such as Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox or Safari. The page asks you to search for a number by entering your city or area code. You can choose any city or area code, but you probably want to choose one in or near your location, especially if you plan to give the number to friends, colleagues, and other people.
Enter area code or city to see available numbers. Click the link for Show more if you want to see more numbers. Then click the Select a button for the phone number you want to use.
You must now verify your existing phone number. Click on the Check button on the next screen. Type in your phone number and then click the Send code button.
Type the code you receive and click the Verify button. You are being told that your number is linked to your account. Click Finish, and then click Finish again.
Use Google Voice on the Web
You can now use your Google Voice number on the network as well as on your mobile phone. Let’s try the site first. Your Google Voice page displays a toolbar with icons for calls, messages, and voicemail. Click the voicemail icon to read a Google Voice message welcoming you to the service. Click the play button to hear the message read aloud.
To make a phone call from the web site, click the appropriate numbers on the disk pad to make the call. If you keep a directory in Google, you can start typing the contact’s name and selecting that person to call them. Either way, your Google Voice number will appear in the other person’s caller to prevent your regular phone number from being revealed. During the call, you can mute your audio, put the call on hold, and access the keypad if you need to enter numbers to answer a call menu. When you’re done, just click the phone icon to stop.
If you receive a call on your Google Voice number, you can answer it on the web site, but remember that it will also be forwarded to your mobile phone. Click the green dial to answer the call. The caller is asked to give their name, which Google announces to you. If you want to accept the call, open the keypad and press 1. To send the caller to your voicemail, press 2. Otherwise, stop.
Then you can review any voicemails. Click the Voicemail icon on the left. Select a specific voicemail. The text transcript should appear automatically, though you may have to wait a few minutes to see the text for a new voicemail. Click the Play button to listen to the message.
To send a text message from the web site, click the Messages icon. Click the option for Send a new message. Scroll down the contact list to select the person you want to text or type in the person’s number or name. Type your text below and send it. All texts you receive will also appear on the message screen.
You can manage your phone calls, text messages, and voicemail on the web. To do this, select a specific call, text, or voicemail. Depending on the subject, click the Call or Message icon in the upper right to answer the caller by phone or text.
Click the three-dot icon to display a menu with different options. Select People to add the person to your directory. Select Archive to send the item to the Archive folder. Choose Mark as spam if the call is spam. Choose Block number to reject future calls or texts from that number. For voicemail, select Download to save the message as an MP3 file. Select Delete to delete it.
On the web, you can also review and adjust your Google Voice settings. Click the Audio Settings icon at the top right to adjust your microphone, tone, and speakers.
Click the Settings icon in the upper right. On the Settings screen, you can delete, unlock, or transfer your Google Voice number. You can also change some settings for your phone calls and voicemails, check any payment history, and turn on security to filter out spam calls and messages.
Use Google Voice on Your Mobile Phone
If you are sitting in front of your computer with your Google Voice website open in your browser, then using the webpage to handle calls and text messages is certainly feasible. Otherwise, you’ll want to install and set up the free Google Voice app on your mobile phone.
Download the app for iOS(Opens in new window) or Android(Opens in new window). The Google Voice app looks and works the same on both platforms. Before you start making and receiving calls, you should determine if you want to use your mobile and WiFi data or your carrier(Opens in new window) for calls. In Google Voice, click the hamburger icon. Go to Settings> Calls> Make and receive calls.
The first option for Prefer Wifi and mobile data allows you to call over the Internet as you would with any VoIP service, however, this will use a small amount of data from your cell phone plan for each call. The second option for Use only carrier uses your mobile carrier to make the call but may result in a charge if you do not have unlimited minutes. If you have a good WiFi connection and limited minutes, go with the first option. Otherwise, select the second option.
To make a call, tap the Calls icon at the bottom and select the icon. From there, select the person’s name from the suggestions or type in the phone number to call. Alternatively, click the Contacts icon below, select the person you want to call, and click the phone number.
An incoming call to your Google Voice number will ring on your mobile phone. The process is the same as on the web. The caller is asked to give their name, which is announced to you. On the diskpad, tap 1 to answer the call or 2 to direct it to voicemail. Tap the Voicemail icon below to access your messages. The transcript shows the text. Press play to listen to the message.
To send a text message, click the Messages icon at the bottom and then click the pencil icon, or click the contacts icon, select the contact you want to text, and then click the text icon. Type your text and send it. All texts you receive will appear in the same place.
Finally, to adjust your Google Voice settings in the mobile app, go to Settings and you’ll find options for messaging, calling, voicemail, payments, and security.
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