Google Voice-Keep Your Original Number

Google Voice made some attractive changes announced in their blog October 26th. Until now, those of us lucky enough to receive an invitation had to make a difficult choice to change our number over to our Google number—or not.image

This week, Google said they recognize how difficult it is for some to give up their numbers, so they’ve been able to tweak the technology to allow people to keep their original number and keep these GV features:

  • free voicemail transcription (delivered to your email address)
  • ability to do an on-line search of transcribed voicemail
  • customized greetings for different callers
  • SMS and email notifications
  • low-priced international calling

If you decide to make your GV number your only number, you also get these features:

  • ability to use your Google Voice number to reach you on all your phones
  • SMS via email
  • call screening
  • call recording
  • conference calling (up to 6 people)
  • call block

Here’s a chart from Google that gives a side by side of the above for easier comparison.

The big appeal of Google Voice for many of us is the ability to use one number that we can program to reach us from all of the phone numbers we use. We don’t get that if we keep our original number.

Having the ability to import my contacts, assign groups to them, record a specific greeting for business, personal and family groups is both efficient and professional. I can further direct GV how to handle a specific group or person’s calls at a certain time of day. For instance, I would program GV to send all my family calls to all of my numbers so I wouldn’t miss them. I would program my business group to ring only certain phones at designated times of the day.

Here’s a short video that quickly explains the benefits of Google Voicemail.

Having It Both Ways

I’ve got a Google Voice number—and I still have my mobile and home numbers because I didn’t want to be too hasty in eliminating numbers I’ve had for a long time.

Why not use both numbers. I’ve decided that’s what I’ll do for now. I can give my GV number out for certain purposes/circumstances and enjoy the ability to program instructions for specific groups or callers.

If I go out of town, I can choose to forward my mobile and home numbers to my GV number and have the ability to handle all my calls in a specific manner. Any voicemails will be transcribed and emailed to me for easy review and retrieval.

I’m not using my Google Voice number very much yet, but it’s nice knowing it’s there and on the few occasions I have, it’s such a timesaver to get voicemails emailed to me instantly. The transcription isn’t perfect, but enough so I can recognize who called.

One thing I haven’t gotten to work is the free SMS. It’s my understanding that if I use GV SMS, charges wouldn’t apply. However, after using it exclusively for several days, I checked my on-line T-mobile account and they were still being counted in there. I will check out the Google Voice Help Forums more to see if I can get an answer there.

10 thoughts on “Google Voice-Keep Your Original Number”

  1. Be warned that currently you can not go from using your own number to later using a Google number. Check the URL below for updates:

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/voice/threa

    I thought using my own number would be an easy way to try out the service without the commitment of telling everyone a new number. I was wrong and now there's no way for me to get a "real" Google phone number. Bummer.

  2. Well, it's definitely obvious that Google wants you to switch over completely. My main concern is still call quality though…that and the fact that Google may decide to ditch the service at any time, leaving everyone who switched their numbers over high and dry.

  3. Try calling your wireless or home phone provider and have them set your regular phone numbers to forward to your Google Voice number when you don't answer instead of to your regular voicemail. I set it up with my cell phone and recorded a greeting about my changed number. Eventually I plan to get rid of my old phone number and exclusively use my GV number for all of my calls, with my phone set up to auto-answer and let me hear the call screening and voicemails like an old school answering machine.

    About the free SMS, if you have a BlackBerry or an Android mobile phone you can get free SMS through the GV app, or on other phones by using the mobile website, or on the regular GV website while the SMS forwarding is disabled. In any of those cases you'll have to refresh the pages in order to get new messages, which kind of defeats the purpose of texting. You could of course set up email forwarding to your phone if your phone is set up to do it.

    All in all I'd say just switch over to US Cellular when your contract is up, where everything incoming is free, and by placing your calls via the website or mobile page your calls will all be incoming anyways.

  4. Hello I am Dylan Goss and I love this forum and sheep. I hope to learn from most of you, thanks! ( yes joking about the sheep)

  5. hi I wanted to know if the googlevoice number can be used as an access number on my regular landline phone from which to make free calls? can this be done?

    1. No, that's not the purpose of GV. You choose a GV number (from the GV site), and then you give that number to everyone. One number for all your phones is how it's supposed to work. Then, you log into your GV account on the web and you can program your GV number to do certain things when a specific number calls you. For example, I could tell GV that if my husband calls me, to ring ALL of my phones any time of the day. So it's not a free call program. Now they are coming out with with free calls from your PC to landlines, but not landlines to landlines – at least not yet. You can read it her <a href="http://ehttp://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100826/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_techbit_google_e_mail_calling” target=”_blank”>ehttp://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100826/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_techbit_google_e_mail_calling
      .

  6. Pingback: Question Google voice - Virtual Assistant Forums

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