Google Voice gives you a separate phone number which you can give out as if it is your regular phone number. You can then change your settings to have calls forward to any of your phones.
You can forward to one group of phones during the day and another at night. You can have calls from certain numbers forward differently than calls to other numbers. You can block spamming callers and send some calls straight to voice mail.
You can send yourself an SMS message or an email whenever you get a voice mail message, and you can check your voice mail from the Web or from your phone. Any calls that go to voicemail are transcribed into an email and sent to your Gmail account along with an attached recording of the original message.
Google Voice will let you define which phones ring, based on who’s calling, and even let you listen in on voicemail before answering the call. They use smart technology to route your calls. So, if you’re already on a Google Voice call, they will recognize it and use call waiting to reach you on the phone you’re on.
Tips for Students. Heading off to college usually means packing up the car and saying goodbye to your family and friends, so the Google Voice team put together a bunch of ways to make it cheaper and easier to stay in touch while you’re on campus. They also thought back to their own days living in dorms and cramming in the library to create a list of student-friendly tips for getting the most out of your phone while you’re away at school.
1. Save your money for something better than minutes
- Send unlimited text messages for free–from your phone or the web
- Make free long distance calls in the US and to Canada with Gmail
- Call friends studying abroad or call home if you’re an international student for as little as 2 cents/minute
2. Use your phone the way you actually want to
- Setup a free Google Voice number that will ring all of your phones at once (dorm phone, cell phone, Gmail, etc.) so you never miss a call (a number that stays with you even if you forget to pay your bill or change cell phone provider)
- Get voicemail transcriptions via email and text during class
- Enable do not disturb to send your calls directly to voicemail when you want to sleep in on the weekends or need to get some studying done
3. Make calls when your phone can’t
Calling in Gmail makes it possible to call phones from right inside of your Gmail account. This makes a super handy alternative to your mobile phone for things like:
- Calling from dorm rooms with non-existent cell phone reception
- Locating a mobile phone that is buried in the couch
- Ordering a pizza when your phone battery is dead