Google Voice

Table of Contents

(Click on a section below to zoom straight to that section instead of scrolling to find the exact spot...especially handy if you don’t have time to complete all the steps in one sitting!)

What Is Google Voice?

Get Started -- Activate Google Voice

Using Google Voice from a Computer {via the Website}

Using Google Voice from a Cell Phone {via the Mobile Site}

Using Google Voice from a Cell Phone {via the App}

What Is Google Voice?

In a nutshell, Google Voice allows you to sign up for another phone number that you can use for phone calls and text messages through your existing cell phone. The advantage is that you can contact someone using your Google Voice number, and the recipient of your call/text won’t see your real phone number. If your number gets into the wrong hands, you can pay $10 to have it changed once, which is a lot less hassle than changing your real phone number! What’s more: your Google Voice number saves your voicemails to your Google account and transcribes your voicemails into written messages. You can also listen in on voicemails as they’re being left and block individual callers if you need to. Click here to read Google’s article about Google Voice’s features.

Get Started -- Activate Google Voice

Like a lot of things in Google, if you have a Google account you already have a Google Voice number -- you just have to activate it. Follow the steps below to activate your Google Voice account:

  1. Log in to your Google account.
  2. Go to this website: www.google.com/voice 
  3. You will see the pop-up shown below; check the box to accept Google’s TOU and then click the blue “Proceed” button at the bottom of the box.

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  1. For our purposes, you want a new number.

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  1. In the blank box next to “Phone Number,” type your cell phone number. In the drop-down menu, select that you are working with a mobile device.

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  1. Google will now verify your phone number. Have your cell phone handy, and then click “Call Me Now.” When you get the call from Google, type the number {shown as a two-digit number in the screenshot below} into your cell phone and follow the automated message’s prompts.

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  1. Now is when you get to choose your new Google Voice number. I always start by typing in the area code or zip code of my destination in the left text box. You could also customize your number a little further by typing a word, phrase, or specific number into the right text box, but keep in mind that it may not produce any results {so your best bet is to leave the right text box empty}. Then click “Search numbers.”

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  1. Notice the screenshot below: I typed in the zip code of my destination and clicked “Search numbers.” Google Voice then conducted a search of all available phone numbers in that zip code and gave me a list. {The list goes on for several pages, and you can see all the options by clicking the blue “Next” button at the bottom of the pop-up.} Once you find a number you’d like to “adopt,” click the radio button to the left of it to select it, as shown below. Then click “Continue.”

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  1. Now you should see a “Congratulations!” screen, as shown below. It will remind you what your Google number is. You can write that number down or put it in your phone if you’d like, but you’ll have access to it later. Click “Finish” when you’re ready to move on.

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  1. Clicking “Finish” should take you to your Google Voice homepage, which is found at www.google.com/voice. The blacked out portion on the bottom left of the screen is concealing this user’s Google Voice number -- so keep in mind that this is one way you can find out your Google Voice number if you ever need a reminder.

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Using Google Voice from a Computer {via the Website}

The Google Voice website {www.google.com/voice} lets you call or text from your computer; just use the orange “CALL” or “TEXT” buttons on the left side of the website to do so.

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The middle portion of the screen {shown in the screenshot below} shows you your Inbox, which will let you read any text messages and/or transcribed voicemails you’ve received on this account.

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You can also click the cog wheel in the top right corner to adjust your settings, which include things like:

Google is pretty good about placing a ? in places where they get a lot of questions. If you hover over the question mark, a pop-up box should appear with help text that can give you a little more information on that particular feature instead of forcing you wade through the help forum.

I think the real magic happens on your mobile device, though because… well, who wants to be tied to their computer all the time?! Be sure to check out the sections about the mobile site and app for more info on how to use Google Voice from your cell phone!

Using Google Voice from a Cell Phone {via the Mobile Site}

One option of how to access Google Voice on your cell phone is go to into your smartphone’s browser {on an iPhone it’s Safari} and navigate to

https://www.google.com/voice/m. Below is a QR code in case you want to scan it with your phone and access the mobile site quickly {you’ll be prompted to sign in to your Google account after scanning}:

If you’re on an iOS device, you can click the share button and “save to homescreen” to save the website as though it’s an app on your phone.

The website will look like a smaller version of this:

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To get started using the mobile site quickly, just type the number you want to contact and then click “text” or “call” to start contacting them. Use the buttons in the top navigation window to see contacts, settings, and your inbox {which contains texts and/or any transcriptions of voicemails you have already}.

Using Google Voice from a Cell Phone {via the App}

Another way to access Google Voice on your cell phone is via the app. Click here for the iOS version, and click here for the Android version.

Once the app downloads to your phone, launch the app and log in to the Google account you used to activate Google Voice.

There may be a tour of some kind that the app automatically takes you through if you’re a new user, but once you finish with all that you’ll see this main screen:

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Here’s what everything does:


Candice Karas 2016 |
candicekaras.com | @ckarasedu