The Basic Features of the Free Version of Google Voice
In this article, we are talking about the free consumer version of Voice, which has been around since 2009. In 2019, Google released Voice for Google Workspace, which we will discuss in another article.
Most small business owners find Google Voice when looking for a cheap or free telephone option for their business. Google Voice remains one of the most popular free VoIP options on the market.
We’ve written before about Google Voice and how it isn’t suited for business use.
While the consumer version of the app isn’t recommended for business use, even by Google, many business owners explore the option anyway.
If you’re considering Google Voice, here’s a rundown of the basics:
Google Voice Cost
Voice is free. Any Google account can also create a Voice account and get set up with free calling, texting, and voicemail to the U.S. and Canada.
Voice allows you to select a free number from a batch of numbers Google has available in a particular geographic area. So you can get an area code of your choice.
Google doesn’t support 800 numbers or vanity numbers.
If you wish to port in your existing business number and connect it to your Voice account, you can.
You are limited to one number per Voice account, so you can’t create multiple phone numbers and manage them out of the same Google account. If you wanted to manage multiple numbers on the Voice platform, you would need to sign in and out of the Google accounts they are connected to.
Each Voice account is connected to an existing mobile number, and you can’t tie your mobile number to multiple Voice accounts. Google restricts a phone number from being connected to multiple Voice numbers, so you can’t create as many Voice numbers as you want and have them all connect to your cell phone.
Getting a free Google Voice number is one of the most common reasons business owners turn to Google Voice. It protects your personal number and creates a professional number you can use for business contacts.
Voice will forward calls to your business number to the mobile or landline number of your choice. And using the app, you can make outbound calls using the business number from your cell phone, while masking your cell number.
After Hours Calls
Voice allows you to specify the hours that you want calls forwarded to your cell. After hours, calls are sent straight to voicemail.
The app offers SMS texting, with all messages coming from the Voice number. Records of all text conversations are stored in the Voice platform in a searchable format.
Voicemails are transcribed and can be emailed to you (according to the settings you choose). You can also listen to voicemails in the app and forward them, just as you would on your cell phone.
Contacts are stored within the Google account the Voice account is tied to. So if you’re using your personal Google account for your business Voice number, your personal contacts will be commingled with your business contacts.
Voice operates primarily over Wifi, though it does use cellular data when wifi isn’t available. That said, the connections are much less stable than you’d want for a business phone service.
Who Google Voice is Good For
The consumer version of Voice is a good option for consumers, but it isn’t recommended for business use – by Google or by us.
The only business situation Google Voice is a good fit for is solopreneurs who use it solely to create a business number that is separate from their personal number.
If your business has multiple employees answering the phone or if you experience high call volume in which reliability and call quality are key, Voice for consumers is inadequate.
If you are a business owner who needs a true answering service solution – meaning calls get answered around the clock – Contact One can help. We provide 24/7 answering services from our offices in sunny Tucson, Arizona, with trained operators in both English and Spanish.