One of Google's little known services is Google Voice. It is something worth looking into, because - for a free service - it gives you a lot.
Google Voice is a Google service that will give you a free working phone number. By "working", I mean that people can call it and reach you ( after you set it up ).
That is only the beginning of what this free service offers.
Google Voice is a phone management system. What this means is that you can get into the backend at Google and set up your Voice account to ring any phone you have access to. It works with cell phones, landlines & VoIP phones.
Going to be house-sitting for Shirley for a week? You can have your GV number ring Shirley's phone while you're there.
If your regular cell phone should break, with GV nobody will ever know unless you tell them. You can buy a burner phone and hook its phone number into your GV account.
Among other benefits, GV can transcribe all your voicemails ( these text files are sent to your Gmail account ). It also allows you to make international calls for pennies per minutes.
What I like best is that GV gives you the ablity to interdict problem callers.
As Google Voice is used by hundreds of thousands of folks, when enough of them mark recent caller's numbers as "spam", Google Voice will automatically stop connecting those calls.
If you have a particularly personal pest, you have two options with Google Voice:
1) Mark their phone number to "never answer", which will cause the GV system to never ring your phone(s) again when that particular number calls. Instead they'll always be sent to your voice mail ( also included in the Google Voice service )
2) Mark their number as "spam". This is the "kiss of death" for that number as after you mark it such in the GV backend, every time they call from that point on, they'll get the tritone recording and hear the famous lady saying "This phone number has been disconnected or no longer in service." and then GV hangs up on them.
Google Voice also allows you to virtually "turn on" and "turn off" your phone service to various phones.
For instance, if you don't want to be bothered, you can log into the GV backend and tell GV to not ring one ( or all ) of your phones that are on the service.
This can also be done by time of day ( i.e. "no calls to iPhone5 after 1700 or before 0800" )
So, a quick overview of Google Voice:
- Free of cost ( all you need is a Google account )
- Rings multiple phones
- Includes voice mail
- Cheap international calls
- Spam/telemarketer control
- Voicemail transcription
- SMS are sent to your email
. . . and lots more. You can read more about Google Voice @ Wikipedia