Google Voice has opened the flood gates to the public. I signed up for an account since my new consulting job with SNC-Services and Service-Now.com allows me to work from anywhere in the world as long as I have decent Internet connectivity and phone service.
Google Voice allows you to configure a single phone number to route phone calls to multiple phones and/or change these phones on the fly. This is great because when I’m visiting family, I can route calls to their home phone if my cell phone battery dies and I forgot my charger. You can also dial your Google Voice number and then dial calls such that the receiver sees your Google Voice on their caller ID. I have also re-routed my cell phone to use Google Voice for voice-mail instead of the Verizon Wireless. There is a help article on this with a list of currently supported carriers. So, I have centralized my business phone number and voicemail into Google Voice.
I realized that I my Verizon Wireless plan offers unlimited voice minutes to Family & Friends (taken from Alltel upon acquisition by VZW). So, I placed my Google Voice number in this list thinking that I would be able to check my Voicemail without using my minutes. I inadvertently discovered that all outbound calls via Google Voice are now captured by VZW as a Family & Friends call. Thus, free minutes on outbound calls. Then, it hit me that I can also set my Google Voice account settings to send my Google Voice number as the caller ID instead of the caller’s number. I have hit the jackpot for unlimited minutes during peak and off-peak times with my cell phone on Verizon Wireless! Any cell phone carrier that allows you to choose numbers that are free/unlimited minutes will work with this strategy.
Be sure to add the Google Voice Mobile App for Android and BlackBerry or the Mobile Website for all other mobile devices. When placing calls from the Google Voice Mobile App, be sure to find the phone number that it is using to place the phone call. In my case, I found that outgoing calls are routed through 678-208-9474, but this could change at anytime.
- Unlimited cell phone minutes
- Callers always see and use your Google Voice number
- Privatization of your mobile number, but still available for business use
- Google Voice allows you to set Do Not Disturb and other settings to keep pesky callers away
- Centralized voice-mail
- Centralized call logs
- You cannot see who is calling you when they dial your Google Voice number
- Issues with older, AT&T based conference calls where it does not detect your access code properly or it rejects you altogether
- There may be other conference calling technologies, automated menu systems or IVR systems that fail or are highly unpredictable
- Call quality could suffer since it is technically routing the call to Google then to the receiver. I have not experienced this yet (1 month).