Do you need a second phone number? How to get started with Google Voice

You probably have a phone number for your mobile phone through which you make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages and handle other related tasks. But sometimes you can use a second number for personal and business phone calls and texts. Or maybe you’d like to use a different number when setting up accounts on websites.

There are a variety of options available for get a second phone numbersome free and some paid. But one option worth trying is Google Voice.

With the voice of Google VoIP service, you are assigned a dedicated phone number that may use the same area code as your existing phone number or general location. All phone calls made to your Google Voice number are forwarded to your regular number for you to answer directly.

unanswered calls go to voicemail, where Google provides voice and text transcriptions so you can read and listen to messages. Plus, you can use that second number for phone calls and texts not only on your phone but also on the Google Voice website.

On the plus side, Google Voice and all of its features are freely available for personal use. On the downside, personal service is currently only available in the US for individuals. However, Google Voice is available to business and education users with paid Google Workspace accounts in the US and other select regions of the world.

To take advantage of Google Voice, you need a Google account and an existing phone number. Now let’s see the steps to use this option as a second phone number.

Set up Google Voice

To set up your number on a PC, go to Google Voice website(Opens in a new window) and sign in with your Google account. You can use any of the main browsers, such as Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, or Safari. The page asks you to search for a number by entering its city or area code. You can choose any city or area code, but you’ll probably want to choose one in or near your location, especially if you plan to give the number to friends, colleagues, and others.

Type in a city or area code to see available numbers. Click the link to Show more if you want to see additional numbers. Then click on the Select button for the phone number you want to use.

Seled's phone number

Now you need to verify your existing phone number. Click on the check button on the next screen. Type in your phone number and then click the submit code button.

Send code

Type in the code you receive and click the Verify button. You are informed that your number has been linked to your account. Click Finish and then click Finish again.

To finalize

Use Google Voice on the web

Now you can use your Google Voice number on the web and on your mobile phone. First let’s test the website. Your Google Voice page displays a toolbar with icons for calls, messages, and voicemail. Click the voicemail icon to read a Google Voice message welcoming you to the service. Click the play button to hear the message read aloud.

Play welcome message

To make a phone call from the website, click the corresponding numbers on the dial pad to make the call. If you keep an address book in Google, you can start typing a contact’s name and select that person to call. Either way, your Google Voice number will show up on the other person’s caller ID to prevent your regular phone number from being revealed. During the call, you can mute the audio, put the call on hold, and access the keypad if you need to dial numbers to answer a call menu. When you’re done, just click the phone icon to hang up.

to make a phone call

If you get a call to your Google Voice number, you can answer it on the website, though keep in mind that it will also be forwarded to your mobile phone. Click on the green phone icon to answer the call. The caller is asked to give their name, which Google announces to them. If you want to accept the call, open the keyboard and click 1. To send the call to your voicemail, click 2. Otherwise, hang up.

receive phone call

You can then review your voice messages. Click the voicemail icon on the left. Select a specific voicemail. The text transcript should appear automatically, although you may need to wait a few minutes to see the text of a new voicemail. Click the Play button to listen to the message.

listen message

Send and receive texts

To send a text message from the website, click the Messages icon. Click the option to Send new message. Scroll down the contact list to select the person you want to text, or type the person’s name or number. Write your text at the bottom and send it. Any text messages you receive will also appear on the message screen.

You can manage your phone calls, text messages, and voicemail on the website. To do this, select a specific call, text message, or voicemail. Depending on the item, click the Call or Message icon at the top right to reply to the caller by phone or text message.

Click on the three dots icon to display a menu with different options. Select People to add the person to your address book. Select File to send the item to the File folder. Select Mark as spam if the call is spam. Select block number to reject future calls or texts from that number. For voicemail, select Download to save the message as an MP3 file. Select Delete to remove it.

Manage phone calls and text messages

On the website, you can also review and modify your Google Voice settings. Click the audio settings icon in the top right corner to adjust your microphone, tone, and speakers.

adjust sound

Click the Settings icon at the top right. On the Settings screen, you can remove, unblock, or transfer your Google Voice number. You can also change certain settings for your phone calls and voicemails, check any payment history, and turn on security to filter out spam calls and messages.

Adjust settings

Use Google Voice on your mobile phone

If you’re sitting at your computer with your Google Voice website open in your browser, then using the web page to handle calls and texts is certainly doable. If not, you’ll want to install and set up the free Google Voice app on your mobile phone.

Download the app for iOS(Opens in a new window) either Android(Opens in a new window). The Google Voice app looks and works the same on both platforms. Before you start making and receiving calls, you should determine if you want Use your mobile data and Wi-Fi or your operator(Opens in a new window) for calls In the Google Voice app, click the hamburger icon. To go Settings > Calls > Make and receive calls.

The first choice for Prefer Wi-Fi and mobile data allows you to make a call over the Internet as you would any VoIP service, however this will use a small amount of data from your mobile plan for each call. The second option for Use carrier only you use your mobile carrier to place the call, but may result in a charge if you don’t have unlimited minutes. If you have a good Wi-Fi connection and limited minutes, go with the first option. Otherwise, choose the second option.

Choose call option

To make a call, tap the Calls icon at the bottom and select the keyboard icon. From there, select the person’s name from the suggestions or type in the phone number to call. Alternatively, tap the Contacts icon at the bottom, select the person you want to call, and tap the phone number.

make a call

An incoming call to your Google Voice number will ring on your mobile phone. The process is the same as on the website. The caller is asked to provide their name, which is announced to you. On the dial pad, touch 1 to answer the call or 2 to send it to voicemail. Touch the voicemail icon at the bottom to access your messages. The transcript displays the text. Press play to listen to the message.

answer a call

To send a text message, touch the Messaging icon at the bottom and then touch the pencil icon, or touch the contacts icon, select the contact you want to text and then touch the text icon. Write your text and send it. All the text messages you receive will appear in the same location.

Send or receive text messages

Finally, to modify Google Voice settings on the mobile app, go to Settings and you’ll find options for messages, calls, voicemail, payments, and security.

Adjust settings

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