Google Voice is a great way to make calls over the internet. It allows you to have your own phone number, and forward all of your calls through that number without needing multiple phones or any special equipment whatsoever. What’s best about Google voice is how easy it makes staying in touch with people when they are traveling outside the US. The service just works well, plain and simple.
In order to make this work you need to get Google Voice number, and an iPhone. When one receives their new Google voice number they will be able to dial it from any phone in the world as well as receive calls on that same number for free anywhere there is WiFi or good cellular data connection. The biggest drawback of using your own cell phone is that when traveling outside the US all incoming calls are going through your carrier’s billing system at international rates, which can get very expensive!
Setting Up Google Voice
With a little bit of setup though, we can solve both problems with a single cheap workaround: forwarding our callers directly to us while traveling without paying those high charges by connecting them through Skype instead. In most countries these days access to Skype over Wifi is free, and that means we can run Google Voice on our iPhones for no cost at all except the initial purchase of a cheap Skype phone number.
This way anyone who calls us while we’re traveling is automatically connected to us through an Internet connection with unlimited minutes (for any country in the world) without paying per minute charges like they would if dialing directly from their cell phones. Also, these incoming calls are completely free since there isn’t even a carrier involved! All this works well because Wifi calling over Skype only uses about half as much bandwidth as cellular data connection so it’s very fast too.
Google Voice and Skype Number
Even better, when someone has one of your “Skype Numbers” you can call them back just fine from your Google Voice number too, which is a great way to get around carriers entirely. For example, I can call someone in China on Skype for free from my Google Voice number since the incoming call is handled over Wifi. Then they don’t have to pay anything either!
So now that you understand how this works let’s look at getting started with it: first, go ahead and set up a new Gmail account just for your “Google Voice Number.” The name doesn’t matter but make sure it ends in @gmail.com because some services will only work properly if everything matches exactly (including all capitalization). This could be called Old or New depending on which method you want to use; like one of those old fashioned landlines where every letter matters–I’m going to refer to this as our Phone Number, or Phone for short.
Next, choose one of the two following methods for getting your phone number hooked up to Google Voice: either port an old cell phone number over (if you have one), or purchase a new Skype “virtual” # that forwards calls directly through GV instead. I’ll go into both options here but if there is enough demand I can do another blog post with just step-by-step instructions on how to get started with each method in more detail later on.
Porting Your Cell Phone Number
If you already have an existing cell phone number then it’s very easy to transfer this over so all incoming calls are forwarded straight back out again via Google voice–no muss no fuss!