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I have a Google Voice account (and a Grand Central account before that!), but I don't use it much. I think I should use it more, because in theory, Google Voice seems to do everything. Is anyone using it exclusively for their phone number? I sense that since smart phones came along and got smarter, that the need or niche for Google Voice diminished. Tell what Google Voice is good for, and what you use it for?

asked Jun 25 '13 at 17:45

Kevin%20Kelly's gravatar image

Kevin Kelly

I've been using GV since the Grandcentral days. Extremely useful for me because I can call my relatives in Canada, as well as make calls on my laptop for free in the US. I also use it to make overseas calls, rates are decent, some providers you can get certain countries for more or less. My cellphone voicemail has been replaced with Google Voice as my provider: I get "visual voicemail" for all my calls, GV translates the voicemail and lets me read it when I don't have my phone with me. Call screening is great, I can give out my GV number freely and not worry about being harassed or spammed.

1 year, 7 months ago
cubensis's gravatar image cubensis

123next page »

It's not perfect. It doesn't do some things I wish it did, and it does some things that I could probably have done in another way. But I still use it. Here's why:

1) Voicemail transcription. 2) Never having to give out my 'real' phone number. 3) Dialing phone numbers directly from webpages on my desktop/laptop. 4) Visual interface for organizing texts and voicemails (I am not an auditory person at all). 5) Keeping my phone number the same in a period when I went without an actual physical phone.


answered Jun 25 '13 at 18:38

jehb's gravatar image


edited Jun 25 '13 at 18:39

I replace my cellphone provider's voicemail number with my g-voice number. The transcribed messages are useful as are the forward-able voicemessages. It is also the number that I give out when a number is required -- the spam-control features of g-voice make it easy to deal with unwanted calls. I have credit balance that was transferred from my Gizmo5 account, but have never used international calling with g-voice. Still wonder why they never integrated Gizmo5's voip service...


answered Jun 25 '13 at 18:55

crenquis's gravatar image


edited Jun 25 '13 at 18:56

I've been using Google Voice since before Google bought the service, it was called GrandCentral. I now use this service for myself and have set it up for my Dad and my Sister as well.

The reason why this service is most valuable is that it gives you full control of your phone number. I don't trust the phone carriers and a phone number is too valuable a piece of personal info not to have under your full control. Using Google Voice means that I haven't even bothered to memorize the numbers attached to my last several phones. At my last job I was given an iphone, minutes after being handed the phone I was able to route calls going to the same old phone number that I had already been using for years. As long as your have an iOS or Android powered cell phone you are set.

For my Dad I was able to set up a home phone using an OBi110 that runs as a voip line. The only cost involved is the e911 service that I think costs roughly $10/year. He isn't that interested in technology, so it was only recently that we set him up with a smartphone. Once he had an android phone it was easy to set that up with Google Voice as well and now we have all his calls going to one phone number and he gets his calls whether he is at home or not without anyone having to call multiple numbers.

Google Voice is not an easy concept to explain. I have failed many times to explain all its merits. The bottom line is yes, it is extremely useful. Sending text messages from the browser and managing your texts, calls and voicemails just like email is hugely valuable. I actually wish that Google would start charging for this service because I would be absolutely devastated if they discontinued it.


answered Jun 25 '13 at 19:01

stevenhudosh's gravatar image


They do charge for it, for international calls. I use it regularly to make overseas calls.

1 year, 7 months ago
cubensis's gravatar image cubensis

I've been using GV for years now. I still love it, the transcription isn't perfect but usually it's good enough to get the gist. It's especially useful with my Android phone and widget, so I can see my messages right on my home screen.

Also, it makes all of my text messages free, which is a big plus, since I use it quite a bit,both from my phone and thanks to the chrome add-on from my browser.

I also use it less often, but it works ok with my sipgate account and my voip adapter so I can use it as a home line (if my cell phone battery dies).


answered Jun 25 '13 at 19:05

eviljohn's gravatar image


I also have been using it since the old GrandCentral days and my power-use is having incoming calls ring in multiple places simultaneously: my cell, skype-in, work, and during certain hours, POTS landline. With one number, I can be reached pretty much anyplace I regularly frequent without using up precious minutes on my cheapo Virgin Mobile $35 plan (300 mins, "unlt'd" 4G data) . I also love the voice mail transcription and ability to send SMS within gmail.

A caveat with adopting it a new: how long will Google continue to support it as a free product - or said bluntly, when will they kill it? I imagine it is more resource intensive than Reader and with fewer opportunities to socialize and monetize. Frankly, I am looking for paid alternatives as a backup...


answered Jun 25 '13 at 19:21

retrorazor's gravatar image


edited Jun 25 '13 at 19:23

I've also had a Google Voice/Grand Central number since 2006 and can't say enough good things about it.

The most compelling thing about it is the simplest: Someone calls you and you always get the call. I work remotely about 90% of the time, but the other 10%, when I'm in an office with a phone, I can just add the desk phone to my Google Voice account and poof suddenly I get all my calls at the desk.

The ability to call out via Google Voice and then swap over to another phone if you need to leave is also a big deal. Mid-call, I can push * and swap the call over to another of my Google Voice phones without dropping the call. This is great if you're on a phone meeting or on hold.


answered Jun 25 '13 at 19:47

euvy's gravatar image


Beware! I love GV, but you cannot get MMS! This also means that if someone sends a group SMS from an iPhone, YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE IT because Apple changes group SMS to MMS. You don't even get an error message, nor does the sender.

Other than that, it has been everything I've ever needed. Even better with my Android phone making calls out with GV.

Other added bonus, we were able to port our home phone to GV via T-mobile (can't port directly to GV), also using an OBi110 adapter.


answered Jun 25 '13 at 19:52

Jimmer's gravatar image


edited Jun 25 '13 at 19:56

Yes. For me, the most useful features are:

1) Sending and receiving text messages from Chrome. I text with my employees in the field all day long, and GV is invaluable for that.

2) Voicemail transcription. It's only 80-90% accurate, but that's enough to tell if a message is urgent.

3) Call screening. People I know and work with ring through, the rest have to identify themselves.

4) Carrier independence. I can drop my cell phone provider tomorrow and point GV to a new number or numbers at any point. No porting necessary.

5) 2 numbers at once. I moved to a new area but kept my old GV number. No need to worry if people haven't gotten my new number.


answered Jun 25 '13 at 19:55

aweiss's gravatar image


I give out my g-voice number for everything- work, home, office. The web tool is what makes g-voice awesome. I spend time every couple of days on the site going over the most recent calls, texts, and voice mails in the call log, making notes and tags about each contact. This gives me a complete and searchable list of contacts I have had about certain projects, with certain people, etc. I also use this time to update my Google contact lists into groups and assign calling rules to different groups and to individual numbers. Some people I set up to always go straight to voice mail, some people get screened (call comes in and I can listen in to the caller as they leave a voice mail with the option of breaking in and taking the call if the call turns out to be important), and some calls will go straight through. Calls from numbers i don't know get greeted and asked their name and then I get the option of taking, screening, or sending their call to voice mail. I also set up custom greetings for different groups- some people get a professional, info-rich v-mail greeting, some people get a quick, "leave a message", and my wife and kids get an "I love you". I also use the call recording feature (star 4) when I really need to remember exactly what was said. I flag certain numbers as spam and they won't even ring my phone or clutter up my v-mail inbox. But my favorite feature is the that I can completely block certain numbers so that they get a tri-tone and "this number is not in service" message. The tri-tones are actually picked up by predictive dialers and are auto removed from automated calling lists. Since telemarketers share and sell scrubbed lists among each other, this has reduced the number of telemarketing calls I have received. My only regret is that I didn't get a number that spelled something clever or had a bunch of repeated numbers to make it easy for people to remember. That feature was added after I got my number and it really is a pain to change. On a side note, a couple of years ago, I turned an old Motorola Droid into a WiFi-only phone with its own g-voice number using a combination of g-voice and two other apps. (I don't recall the names of the apps.) No cell fees, no data plan, just free calls and texts via WiFi (outgoing and incoming). Gave it to my 7 year old and she left it out in the rain, though. Oh well.


answered Jun 25 '13 at 20:04

jrickner's gravatar image


I've had a Google Voice number since they were available and use it as my main number. I think it is a great service and I will be sorry when Google kills it like Reader. Being able to route calls to any number that you have access to is so handy. When my phone battery died unexpectedly (I had 4G turned on where there was no 4G signal) I routed calls to an iPad via Talkatone.

A couple of considerations:

  MMS is not currently supported, not a big deal for me but a deal breaker for some.
  Some services will not recognize GV as a text number. I tried to set up 2 factor 
     authentication on a website, but the confirmation text to the GV number never
     came through. I had to send it to the phone's number.

answered Jun 25 '13 at 20:09

clearcut's gravatar image


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Asked: Jun 25 '13 at 17:45

Seen: 6,172 times

Last updated: Jul 01 '13 at 22:58

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