You most likely have a single phone number for your mobile phone, which you use to make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, and perform other associated functions. However, you might utilize a second number for personal and professional phone calls and text messages on occasion. Perhaps you’d want a different phone number to use when creating accounts on websites.
A variety of options are available for snagging a second phone number, some free and some paid. But one option worth trying is Google Voice.
With the Google Voice VoIP service, you’re assigned a dedicated phone number that can use the same area code as your existing phone number or general location. Any phone calls made to your Google Voice number are forwarded to your regular number for you to answer directly.
Unanswered calls go to voicemail, where Google provides voice and text transcriptions for you to read and listen to the messages. Plus, you can use that second number for phone calls and text messages not just on your phone but on the Google Voice website.
On the plus side, Google Voice and all of its capabilities are free to use for personal purposes. On the downside, the personal service is presently only available to individuals in the United States. Google Voice, on the other hand, is available to corporate and educational customers with paid Google Workspace accounts in the United States and other chosen locations around the world.
To use Google Voice, you must have a Google account and an existing phone number. Now, let’s go through how to use this option as a secondary phone number.
How to Get Started with Google Voice
Set Up Google Voice
To set up your number on a PC, browse to the Google Voice web page and sign in with your Google account. You can use any of the major browsers, such as Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, or Safari. The page asks you to look for a number by entering your city or area code. You can choose any city or area code, but you’ll likely want to pick one in or close to your location, especially if you plan to give the number to friends, colleagues, and other people.
Type an area code or city to see available numbers. Click the link for Show more if you want to view additional numbers. Then click the Select button for the phone number you wish to use.
You now need to verify your existing phone number. Click the Verify button at the next screen. Type your phone number and then click the Send code button.
Enter the code you were given and press the Verify button. Your phone number has been linked to your account, you’re told. Click Finish, and then finish again.
Use Google Voice on the Web
You may now use your Google Voice number both on the web and on your phone. Let’s start with the website. A toolbar with symbols for calls, messages, and voicemail appears on your Google Voice website. To read a message from Google Voice welcoming you to the service, click the voicemail button. To hear the message read out, use the play button.
To make a phone call from the internet, use the dial pad to enter the required numbers. If you have an address book in Google, you may start typing a contact’s name and then pick that person to call. In any case, your Google Voice number will appear in the other person’s Caller ID, preventing your normal phone number from being displayed. During the call, you may mute the audio, put the call on hold, and use the keypad to enter digits to answer a call menu. When finished, simply click the phone symbol to hang up.
If you receive a call at your Google Voice number, you can answer it through the website, but keep in mind that it will also be transferred to your cell phone. To answer the call, click the green phone symbol. The caller is requested to provide their name, which Google announces. If you want to accept the call, press 1 on the keyboard. Click 2 to direct the caller to your voicemail. Otherwise, please disconnect.
Following that, you may listen to any voicemails. On the left, select the Voicemail icon. Choose a specific voicemail. The text transcription should show automatically, however you may have to wait a few moments to see it for a fresh voicemail. To listen to the message, use the Play button.
To send a text message from the website, click the Messages icon. Click the option for Send new message. Scroll down the list of contacts to select the person you wish to text or type the number or name of the person. Type your text at the bottom and send it. Any texts you receive will appear at the messages screen as well.
You can manage your phone calls, text messages, and voicemail at the website. To do this, select a specific call, text, or voicemail. Depending on the item, click the Call or Message icon in the upper right to respond to 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 address book. Select Archive to send the item to the Archive folder. Select Mark as spam if the call is spam. Select 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 remove it.
You may also examine and modify Google Voice settings on the website. To alter your microphone, tone, and speakers, click the Audio options button in the top right corner.
In the top right, click the Settings icon. You may remove, unlock, or transfer your Google Voice number from the Settings menu. You may also alter your phone call and voicemail settings, view your payment history, and enable security to filter spam calls and messages.
Use Google Voice on Your Mobile Phone
If you’re sitting in front of your computer with your Google Voice website open in your browser, then using the web page 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 or Android. The Google Voice app looks and works the same on both platforms. Before you start making and receiving calls, you should determine whether you want to use your mobile and Wi-Fi data or your carrier for calls. In the Google Voice app, click the hamburger icon. Go to Settings > Calls > Make and receive calls.
The first option for Prefer Wi-Fi and mobile data lets you place a call over the internet as you’d do with any VoIP service, however, this will use a small amount of data from your mobile plan for each call. The second option for Use carrier only uses your mobile carrier to place the call but may result in a charge if don’t have unlimited minutes. If you have a good Wi-Fi connection and limited minutes, go with the first option. Otherwise, choose the second option.
Tap the Calls symbol at the bottom and then the dial pad icon to make a call. Choose the person’s name from the choices or enter the phone number to call. Alternatively, at the bottom, hit the Contacts icon, then pick the person you want to call and tap the phone number.
When someone calls your Google Voice number, your phone will ring. The procedure is the same as described on the internet. The caller is asked for their name, which is then read out to you. Tap 1 on the dial pad to answer the call or 2 to send it to voicemail. To access your messages, tap the Voicemail button at the bottom. The text is displayed in the transcription. To listen to the, use the play button.
To send a text message, tap the Messages icon at the bottom and then tap the pencil icon, or tap the contacts icon, select the contact you want to text, and then tap the text icon. Type your text and send it. Any texts you receive will appear in the same location.
Finally, to tweak the settings for Google Voice in the mobile app, go to Settings and you’ll find options for messages, calls, voicemail, payments, and security.