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Google Voice: To Use it or Not?

Google Voice: To Use it or Not?

Google re-invented telephony when they launched Google Voice in March of 2009, a little over a decade ago. It is a free internet-based phone service which provides its consumers with phenomenal features (Tracy, 2018)! Google Voice enables its users with what we consider the mother of all features: one free number enabling you to manage all of your phones and devices under it. What this means is that you will be provided with ONE phone number which will become your primary number and you can route all your voicemails, calls and text messages to it. All you will need is access to the internet. So if you are someone who has more than one cell phone, and hence more than one number, get Google Voice and simplify your life. Instead of having work, home, and personal phone numbers, you can simply hand out the one number. It lets you choose the device you want to ring instead of your calls going between all of your numbers and devices (Tracy, 2018). Apart from call forwarding, Google Voice also offers a wide array of features and services, including:

  • Cheap rates on international calls
  • Free group texting
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Voicemail services
  • Voice and text messaging
  • U.S. and international call termination
  • Call routing
  • Google Voice call recording
  • Customized voicemail greeting for specific callers
  • Call blocking for unwanted calls/robocalls/spam calls
  • Conference calling (WordStream, 2020)

The Google Voice app is only available in the USA, Canada, and a handful of other countries. For Americans, all that is needed to set up Google Voice is a Google account, a cell phone or computer with access to the internet, and a U.S. number. Once you sign up for Google Voice, you will be assigned a phone number which will sync across all your devices, enabling you to use the app at home, in the office, or even while travelling (WordStream, 2020). 

Google Voice Sign Up:

You can set up your Google Voice number by going to their website https://voice.google.com/ and following their detailed step-by-step instructions. You can also download the app on your smartphone for your Google Voice sign up. Once you are on their webpage, simply sign in to your Google account (if you live in the USA) and select the tab for either Personal Use or Business. You will then be asked to choose a number from several locations in your region. Once you have selected a number of your choosing, click Verify and enter your existing phone number to connect to your Google Voice Number (Krasnoff, 2019).  Congratulations, your Google Voice signup is complete! Now let us talk about the pros and cons of this outstanding phone service.

Pros of having a Google Voice Number:

Save Money- Because Google Voice offers an array of free services, you can cut back on some of the services you were already availing for a fee. It also helps you reduce your cell phone minutes, giving you the option of getting the cheapest plan or even going prepaid. It gives you cheaper international calls, and free outgoing calls and text messaging.

Integration- If you’re a fan of Google, you’ll love this! Google Voice integrates with Gmail, Google Calendar and other Google services to make your digital life easier, thus, improving both your productivity as well as your efficiency in your work and personal life (Rand, 2017).

No More Missed Calls- Since all your numbers are synced to your Google Voice number, you need not miss any dear or important calls ever again. They can all be routed to your one free number. Consolidating all your numbers enables you to always remain connected and available. “With the availability to utilize your existing number, Google has made it easy for you to consolidate everything under one roof” (Grech, 2016).

Number Porting- Google Voice lets you port your existing phone number to your Google Voice number without any hassle.

Cons of having a Google Voice Number:

Emergency Calls- If Google Voice becomes your primary number; it is possible that you may find yourself in a pickle when without access to Wi-Fi. If such a scenario were to occur, you will be unable to make direct emergency calls to 9-1-1.

Lack of Support- Customer support is not an option when it comes to Google Voice. If you were to face some problem, there will be no customer service through calls or email. While almost all phone companies such as Verizon or AT&T offer such services, Google Voice does not. Its users may find help on Google’s online help page which has answers to several FAQs. There is also a Google Voice Help Forum where you can post your queries.

Complex Messaging- You will have no trouble with good old standard text messaging, but if you want to send mass messages, or pictures and videos in your messages, things may get a little complicated. On its own, Google Voice does not make use of advanced Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) which can carry greater data. You will have to download another app if Google Voice is your only phone service – Google Hangouts. By integrating Google Voice with Google Hangouts, you can send and receive MMS, SMS, and conduct video conference calls (Grech, 2016).

Privacy- It is perhaps the biggest flaw of the modern digital world. You give Google access to an inordinate amount of personal information by using Google Voice (and all the apps integrated with it) for all your phone activity. Now, you don’t need to worry about Google publicizing your private chats with your best friend – there is a privacy policy in place which respects your rights. Nevertheless, it is still a lot of private information that you will be exposing to Google, so you may want to read that privacy policy and know exactly what happens with your data (Raphael, 2009). 

In conclusion, Google Voice, like almost everything else in this world, comes with its benefits as well as drawbacks. So the question of whether to use it or not really depends on your needs. The biggest service that Google Voice provides, and which has also helped it last for over a decade is that it can consolidate all your numbers under one number. So if you need your numbers consolidated under one, we recommend using Google Voice. If however, call-forwarding and number porting are your primary concerns, using Community Phone as your phone service will be a better alternative. We will set it up for you for free for the first 30 days, after which you will be charged only $10/month. If you have further queries regarding what services you can avail through us, feel free to call us at 888-582-4177 or 617-963-0004. At Community Phone, we treat our customers like family. Our staff is trained to provide you with the best service. You receive hands-on help at Community Phone, oftentimes directly from the CEO!

Works Cited

  1. Grech, M. (2016, April 20). The Pros and Cons of Using Google Voice as Your Primary Phone. Retrieved April 14, 2020, from Get Voip: https://getvoip.com/blog/2016/04/20/pros-cons-google-voice/
  2. Krasnoff, B. (2019, April 23). How to use Google Voice? Retrieved April 13, 2020, from The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/23/18411138/google-voice-how-to-use-grandcentral-secondary-phone-number-voicemail-texts-sms
  3. Rand, N. (2017, July 10). The Pros and Cons of Using Google Voice as Your Primary Phone. Retrieved April 14, 2020, from Top 10 VoIP List: https://www.top10voiplist.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-using-google-voice-as-your-primary-phone/
  4. Raphael, J. (2009, June 25). Google Voice: 5 Reasons to Use It, 5 Reasons to Think Twice. Retrieved April 14, 2020, from PC World: https://www.pcworld.com/article/167424/google_voice_pros_cons.html?page=2
  5. Tracy, P. (2018, June 19). How to use Google Voice, a free phone service with killer features. Retrieved April 7, 2020, from Daily Dot: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/what-is-google-voice/
  6. (2020, April 9). Google Voice for Mobile. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from WordStream - Online Advertising Made Easy : https://www.wordstream.com/google-voice-for-mobile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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