We gave up our land line a few years ago, so from that point on, we were limited to using either our cell phones or Skype.
Last year we had a land line installed only because we had to have it for internet service. Unlike a straight DSL line that doesn’t have a phone number attached to it, this one does. The only problem has been that I can receive calls on this line, but can only call out if I’m calling “911” or “800” numbers.
So I’ve had this number for about a year and had only used it a handful of times for 800 numbers – until I figured out a way to get around the system! Now I feel so empowered!
One of the features of Google is Voice. You can’t make a call from your computer with Google Voice like you can with Skype, but that’s part of the beauty of it. You can use a real phone! That also means I don’t have to deal with the “dead zones” in my house with the cell phone.
Here are some of the benefits to Google Voice.
1. Free phone number. I use this phone number for my website and also when filling things out that require a phone number. I have this number set up so that the calls go directly to my cell phone, but when that person isn’t in my contact list, they can’t get through to me unless I push a key to let them.
2. It’s like having a personal assistant. I set my account up so that Google Voice uses my home phone number, which is this emergency line. All I do is select “call” and type in the number I want. Select “connect” and my home phone rings in less than a second. When I answer the phone, it is already dialing the number I’m calling. Sweet!
This has been particularly helpful to me in doing my radio show from home because I no longer have to:
1. Use a headset, and be tethered to my computer with Skype, or
2. Use my cell phone. Lots of reasons for not wanting to use the cell. I don’t want to use up the minutes, don’t like the heat generated from the phone, and can’t count on it to keep a good connection for an hour.
Here’s a link for features: http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html#
I’ve highlighted some of the ones I use here, but take some time to look at the short videos at this link for a better explanation.
1. Voice messages are also sent to your email address as a text, so if you’re unavailable to take a call, or they are leaving information you want to access later, you have it in an email. You might get some crazy transcriptions, but I like that feature. Usually I can understand enough to see who sent it and what they want.
2. You can choose your own Google Voice phone number. There are quite a few advantages to this, but one is that if you change your home or cell number, your Google Voice number stays the same. I was able to get one with my area code and you should be able to as well.
3. Personalized greetings. Create one for work and another personal. Record your own greeting.
4. International calling for reduced rates.
5. Share messages. If you’ve received a voice mail you want to share with someone else, just forward it to their email and they can listen. You can’t do that with your home answering machine, or even your cell.
6. Mobile App. Send text messages without using your cell phone carrier.
There are lots of reasons for wanting to have this emergency line. For one thing, the number allows the police department to know where to go if I call. During bad storms, we may lose cell phone coverage, but the wired lines still work. Of course with Google Voice, we are depending on the internet to be working, too.
Follow the link and see what you think. It doesn’t cost you anything to try it.