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Tuesday October 27, 2009 12:49 pm

Use Google Voice voicemail with your current number

Posted by Dan Hughes Categories: Smartphones, Google, Internet

Today, “announced” a feature that technically already existed before now, but giving it a name makes it more real, right?

Google says that by taking advantage of the conditional call forwarding feature your carrier provides, you can forward calls that you do not answer on your phone to your Google Voice phone number, thereby replacing your company’s voicemail with Google’s.  This functionality has actually always existed: Google Help forums reveal countless people already were setting up their functionality long before Google made this announcement. 

It boils down to setting up your call forwarding feature (*71 or the like) to forward to your Google Voice number (or your “Access Number” if you sign up “Without a Google Number”).  Then, when your call is forwarded to the Google Voice number, the voice mail is logged and transcribed and stored online, with delivery options such as email or text message to your cell phone.  You don’t get all the features you get if you use an actual Google Voice number for people to call, but it is still a nifty service.

A bit more information about Google Voice after the jump.

is a revolutionary service that provides you the ability to tie multiple phone numbers into a single set of digits, with a centralized voice mail and text message inbox around a single new “Google Number.”  Incoming text messages can be forwarded to a preset email address and to every mobile number associated with the account.  Replies can be sent from any of the phones to begin a conversation with the texting party.  Voice mails are converted to text using Google’s transcribing features, and are delivered in text form via text message or email.  Voice mails can be listened to online from a computer or on your cell phone by dialing into your access number.  Finally, all texts and voice mails are handled much like Gmail: you have options to save or archive any of the text conversations or voice mails, can mark callers as “spam,” and can reply to messages via SMS within the browser window.

For some, myself included, as incredible as the text and voice mail logging and transcription services were, when you only have one phone to begin with, trying to get everyone you know to switch to a number is a pain as it is.  It is not like other folks who already have an office line, a mobile phone, and a home phone: what’s a fourth number, really?  Add that to the compounded pain of CALLING people from that number: Google does not make it easy to dial out and have your Google number appear as the caller ID.  Without some serious hodgepodge magical trickery (read: about 10 extra keystrokes or so), you’re receiving calls at one number, but calling them back at another.

So in a set up much like the one Google is repackaging above, I had my calls forwarding for sometime on my Google Voice number, so everyone still calls my regular cell number, and that’s the number I place calls from.  The downside to this is that the text messages cannot be logged (because they come directly to my phone, not via Google Voice), but the voice mails still are. 

Now, only if Google could get with the big companies to all text messages to pass through Google’s systems.  More texts sent back and forth AND complete text archival?  Sounds like a win-win to me.  Listen up, US carriers!

Read More | The Official Google Blog

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