These days, everyone is out to save money and increase productivity. One of the biggest barriers to this today is all of the different phone numbers we accumulate over time. I have office, home, cell and Skype phone numbers. Some of these I can access from anywhere, some I cannot. Wouldn't it be great if you had just one phone number that you had full control over and could access from anywhere, anytime? What if that one phone number offered free voicemail, SMS and other services that you currently pay for? Now there is. It's called Google Voice.

When you sign up with Google Voice, you are assigned a free phone number. You have some control over what that number is, but not a lot. Google now offers number porting, so you can port (move) your mobile phone number to Google. At this time, you cannot port a land line to Google Voice. Some people have had success with porting their land line phone number to a mobile carrier and from there porting the number to Google Voice. I would be careful about doing this. Now, instead of two, you have three parties involved in porting your number to Google. This increases the chance of something going wrong and you possibly losing your number. There are other things to consider when porting your mobile phone number to Google. For more information, click here.

I have a land line and found that the best, easiest way to utilize Google Voice was to forward my office phone number to my free Google Voice phone number. Once the caller gets forwarded to my Google voice number, Google Voice takes care of alll of the call processing.

What do I mean by processing? Here are some of money saving and productivity gaining aspects of Google Voice:

  • Use one number to manage all your phones; your Google Voice number is tied to you, not to a particular device or location.
  • Voicemail like email: Save voicemail messages for as long as you'd like, star important ones, and search through them
  • Voicemail transcription: Voicemail messages will be automatically transcribed to text and sent to you via email and/or SMS.
  • Customize your callers' experience (custom voicemail greetings, decide which of your phones ring based on who's calling, send some callers straight to voicemail, etc.)
  • Define which phones ring, based on who's calling, and even ListenInTM on voicemail before answering the call. We use smart technology to route your calls. So, if you're already on a Google Voice call, we'll recognize it and use call waiting to reach you on the phone you're on.
  • Works with mobile phones, desk phones, and work phones. There's nothing to download, upload, or install, and you don't have to make or take calls using a computer.
  • International calling: Make low priced international calls from the web or from your phone.

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