Let’s start from the start
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has been around for years now. It is a much cheaper alternative to traditional copper-wire telephones. This has led to its widespread use. Many businesses prefer VoIP, especially for international calls. VoIP connect to the IP network using wi-fi, wired ethernet or some other internet service. VoIP technology also comes in handy as it uses a single network for both voice as well as data communication. Skype is one such service which uses VoIP and enables users to call other Skype users at low costs. Its convenience meets economical costs! But, move over VoIP, Google Voice is here!
What is Google Voice?
Google Voice is developed with the aim to consolidate different communication channels. The result is that through one single Google Voice number, you can make several phones ring at once. How does that help you?
Imagine this. You create one single Voice number for your business and integrate your office phone number, your home number, and your mobile number with the Voice number. Now, when someone wants to contact your business and call on the voice number, all three phones ring! No more missing important calls! And that’s not all. You can even customize the ringing so that, for instance, the home phone rings in the early morning, the office phone rings during the day, and the mobile rings after office hours! Google Voice allows you to integrate up to six phone numbers with the Voice number. So, potentially, you can segment your calls on six different devices depending on your requirement.
Are there any cons?
Does something that sounds so good have any cons as well? In fact, it does!
- First and foremost, Google Voice is not a complete system in itself. It just seeks to improve your current voice experience. So you end up keeping your existing devices and also paying the carrier charges.
- The second con is that Google Voice is available only in the US for now.
- Emergency calling is not available. So you cannot call 911 from within the US.
The good bits
Yes, it has some bad bits, but let’s not be too hard! It definitely helps you reduce voice costs. For one, local calling is free. International calling from anywhere to any number in the US and Canada is again, free. For other countries, international calling is at much cheaper rates just like VoIP. Text messaging through the Google number is, yes you guessed it right, free! Over and above all this, Google Voice itself can be downloaded for free. There you go!
You can also integrate Gmail and Gtalk with your Google number to further integrate all communication channels and simplify things for your business. A typical Google Voice inbox looks something like the one shown in the image below.
In addition to this, there is a lot of customization and personalization possible in the features such as voicemail, call routing, personalized greetings depending on which number is being called, etc.
You can change or port your number too, for a fee.
As already mentioned above, Google Voice is not an entire system in itself. But the personalization available would make getting the Google number worth it!