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What is Google Voice and how to set it up
Google Voice makes acquiring and managing personal and professional VOIP service lines simple. It can be an ideal solution for everyone, from your average Joe to freelancers and large-scale companies. If you’re wondering what Google Voice is and how to set it up, don’t worry; we’ll cover it all in this article.
Google Voice is a voice-calling and text messaging application. It provides you with a phone number, making it simple to separate your lines. The app is free for personal use in the United States. Business plans start at $10 per user per month, and three plans are available.
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What is Google Voice, and how does it work?
Google Voice first became available way back in 2009. It’s one of the many VoIP services that lets users make calls via the internet. Yet, unlike Whatsapp and Telegram, Google Voice provides a separate number from your standard network provider.
One of the main perks of using Google Voice is that you don’t need to purchase a separate mobile device, as all its functionality works through the mobile app. It’s also available to use via a desktop application and through supported web browsers. These include Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari.
The app is especially useful for organizations that require multiple users to answer calls from the same number, like customer service departments and sales teams. Team members log into a shared Google Voice account and instantly gain access to all the available features.
Currently, Google Voice isn’t widely available and only accessible in 14 countries across North America and parts of Europe. Single users can use it as a standalone app, while those on a business plan must create a Google Workspace account to access the app.
Google Voice features
Before highlighting Google Voice’s core features, we should mention that it isn’t built for video calls. If that’s a feature you need, it’s worth checking out our selection of the best video calling apps.
Calls and text
The bread and butter of Google Voice is its calling and texting capabilities. Users can call other Google Voice numbers, standard network numbers, and landlines. Messages work like any other messaging app; beyond text, it’s possible to send photographs and videos – you get unlimited text messages per month across all plans.
Spam calls filtering
Though not unique to Google Voice, one of the stand-out features is the app’s ability to filter out spam calls. Using Google’s AI technology, the app will alert you if it believes an incoming call is spam, like a cold sales pitch. You still have the option to take the call if you wish, and you can block numbers to prevent receiving future calls.
Despite being a VoIP service, setting up a voicemail in the Google Voice app is still possible. It has some cool features too, like listening to a caller leave their voicemail in real-time. Alternatively, you can ask Google Voice to transcribe your voicemails so you can read rather than listen.
For desktop, Google Voice is compatible with ChromeOS, Windows, and macOS. You can download the app on Android and iOS, and it’s available for iPadOS. As for browsers, the app is compatible with Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
Is Google Voice free
?Google Voice is only free for single users making calls and sending texts to numbers in the United States. Remember that if you intend to make international calls, charges will apply, and the cost depends on which country you are calling. You can learn more about international rates here.
Business users can choose from three paid plans, with Google offering more features for those on a higher paid subscription. Calls to numbers inside the United States are part of the cost of your subscription, but you’ll pay extra fees if you make calls abroad. Learn more about business plans here.
How to set up Google Voice
Another benefit of using Google Voice is that it’s relatively easy to use the service. We’ve broken down how to create accounts for personal and business use, as the process differs slightly.
Setting up Google Voice for personal use
- Visit the Google Voice homepage.
- Select For personal use.
- Next, choose which platform you would like to use Google Voice.
- Choose a Google Voice number within a selected city or dialing code.
- If you skip this part, you won’t be able to send and receive calls and messages.
- Add your current telephone number to receive a verification code via phone call or text.
- Once you have verified your account, you can use Google Voice and its features.
Setting up Google Voice for business use
- Visit the Google Voice homepage.
- Select For business.
- Next, select the paid plan you wish to use.
- Log in to your Google Workspace administrator account.
- Finally, select Get Started.
- Follow on-screen instructions to get set up.
If you’re facing any problems, visit our detailed guide on what to do when Google Voice isn’t working.
Why choose Google Voice?
Google Voice hardly offers groundbreaking features, which may leave some readers asking: What’s the point?
The app is an excellent addition for those already using Google Workspace, as it integrates with other apps like Google Calendar and Google Meet. Plus, it removes the need for a third-party voice calling solution.
It’s also one of the quietest and easiest ways to get mass business communications up and running. We also shouldn’t underestimate how invaluable it can be to make calls over Wi-Fi, which becomes even more important if you ever find yourself in areas with lackluster mobile coverage.
And even if you don’t care for business use, I find that Google Voice is a great tool to keep my personal and professional lines separate. I usually use my Google Voice number to communicate with businesses, stores, banks, etc. Meanwhile, only close friends and family have my personal phone number.
If Google Voice does not convince you, we recommend checking out the best free calling apps.
All Google Workspace apps can be compliant with HIPAA regulations. Users who are subject to HIPAA must first sign Google’s Business Associate Agreement (BAA).
Yes. Users can receive text messages through the Google Voice mobile app and the desktop web-based versions.
Yes. Google Voice allows you to make international calls. These calls are charged separately to your monthly subscription and the cost of the calls depends on which country you are calling. In terms of roaming outside your country, Google Voice will work anywhere as long as you have a data connection.
Google uses industry-standard encryption to secure your data. This, along with Google’s other security features, should be enough to fend off middleman attacks. Note, however, that Google Voice doesn’t have end-to-end encryption, which means Google employees could potentially access your data.