Google Voice is a smart forwarding solution that is free from Google. There are other companies that offer similar or even more services, but they aren’t for free. I give out my Google Voice number to everyone, and when they call – they are forwarded to one or more phones based on the group they fall into. You can also choose to have a group not forwarded at all – thereby going to voicemail.
Google Voice also offers a way to disclose your Google Voice number when using an Android app. You would install the app to the phone, and once set up, and selected to use Google Voice for outgoing calls, then any call made with the phone will route through a voice gateway, and therefore show the Google Voice number as the calling number – therefore keeping your real cellular number as secret as you would like. This however does not work with making N11 calls such as 211, or 911. Instead, the app will prompt you to use your cellular phone number.
This app will also offer basic SMS/MMS using your phone’s data plan rather than messaging plan. Obviously, SMS or MMS going directly to your cellular phone will use your messaging features, but the ones to your Google Voice number will be treated as data.
The app has four tabs. The first is call history with a circle to bring the dialer up, and allow you to call from there. The second tab is your contacts. Selecting a contact will bring the information you have about them and allow you to either call or SMS the contact. The third tab is Messages for SMS and MMS messages. The last tab is your voicemail. When receiving voicemail to your Google Voice number, Google will try to transcript the voicemail giving you an idea of what the voicemail is about without having to listen to it.
When going to Google Voice’s website – you are presented with a very limited resource. Selecting the 3 lines in the top left corner of the browser will give you the option to the “Legacy” Google Voice. From there, you could everything in the standard site, and more. The only thing you can’t do that I noticed was create a voicemail greeting. It will send you back to the standard version to create your greeting. While there, you may want to activate Google Voicemail for the cellular phones you added. This will give you one voicemail service, and one that is likely better than what you get with your carrier. Under Groups, you can setup Anonymous Call Rejection by unchecking all of the phones for Anonymous Callers. This will send them straight to voicemail. I would recommend browsing through the “Legacy” version of the site, and make the service work best for you.
To visit Google Voice, and setup an account – go to http://fsp.to/gv. You must have a US telephone number to link with Google Voice.