Google Voice Reviews

Google Voice


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Google Voice came into existence in 2009, after Google purchased GrandCentral. It allows users to make and receive VoIP phone calls on a PC, a smartphone or even a regular home telephone if users purchase an Obihai ATA. It is estimated that there are over 3.5 million users of this service.

The Good

All phone calls inside the US and Canada are free of charge. For incoming calls, it is essentially a forwarding service. To set up your account, you need to log into your secure Voice portal to configure how calls to your Google Voice phone number are handled. They can be routed to any cell phone, home or work number, another VoIP number or to your Google Hangout app on a PC or Android/iOS smartphone. Outgoing calls are free if calling any number in the US and Canada and International rates are competitive. If you are making calls to other Google Voice accounts, for example in a Hangout, these calls are always free of charge, regardless of your location.

You can forward incoming calls to multiple phones, for example home and cell phone, and you can pick it up on either phone. If you allow the call to go to voicemail, you can listen in before answering the call. This can be useful if you like to screen calls.

Voicemails can be forwarded to an email address of your choosing, it does not have to be a Gmail email address. There is also the option to transcribe the voicemail. The results of voicemail transcriptions are not always great but it is a useful feature, especially for the hard of hearing. Text messages can also be forwarded to email.

If you operate an Internet business, you can actually embed a calling widget on your website for visitors to call you. Rest assured, your number is kept private.

Using an Obihai Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) you can take advantage of free Google Voice calls on your home telephone.

The Bad

Google has a tendency to create great services such as this, only to tear it down a few years later so be aware of this. Also, support is limited and based on website support only (i.e. no phone support).

When you sign up for a Google Voice account, you can either start with a new phone number or port in a telephone number, though this can only be a mobile/cell number. The options for choosing a new number tend to be limited especially for highly sought after area codes. If you decide to port in a mobile number, be aware that this will terminate your account with your mobile provider so be pro-active here and arrange new numbers with your mobile provider, if you wish to stay with this company. It costs $20 to port in a mobile phone number to Google Voice. Porting a number out of Google costs $3, at this time of writing.

Google Voice does not support E911 emergency service calling. This is an important point to be aware of. Before you complain too much, keep in mind the service is free.

The feature set is very basic when compared to other VoIP companies you see on our website, that typically offer a rich feature set consisting of over 40+ features.

The Bottom Line

  • Outgoing Calls: All calls inside the US and Canada are free. International rates are competitive.
  • Incoming Calls: Essentially, Google Voice is a forwarding service for incoming calls to another phone number of your choosing or to your PC or cellphone App.
  • Features: The feature set is very basic, though voicemail and call screening are useful. Voicemails can be sent to email and also can be transcribed.
  • Phone Numbers: Choose a new number, if your area code is available, or port in a mobile number for $20.
  • E911: Google does NOT support emergency calling.

Overall Thoughts

It is tough to provide negative feedback against any service that is free of charge. Google Voice is a decent service for residential use and very small businesses. Calls are free of charge to anywhere inside the US and Canada and although the features are very basic, the main features are covered. The major downside is a lack of E911 calling and whether Google plans to keep this service active from a long term perspective. For now though, take advantage of the savings.

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