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Google Voice

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Google Voice as a default

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Google finally added full support for MMS into Google Voice which means that if you swap devices often as I do, instead of having to switch SIM cards back and forth, I can simply port my main cell phone number over to Google Voice and then point my number at any device I choose.

I tired this a few years ago but at the time, you could not send or receive text messages that included photos or videos. About a month ago, they added MMS support but images came through as a link that had to be clicked. That seemed spammy to me.

I think its time I give it another try. That means that I will transfer my cell phone number to Google Voice and have a random number assigned to my phone. Then if I want to switch between phones, I just log into Google Voice and point my number at another phone. Google Voice makes it easy to point your number at any phone. With Google Hangouts integration, I can get calls anywhere, even on a tablet or my laptop. This has been possible for a while now, I have just held off because I would not have been able to receive picture text messages.

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Forward Your iPhone VoiceMail to Your Google Voice

One Voicemail To Rule Them All! – Gone are the days of checking multiple voicemails.

For years now I have used Phonetag.com, originally named Simulscribe to transcribe my voicemails. Up until Google recently updated their transcription service Phonetag.Com had them beat hands down. It was also easier to use Phonetag because they were a voicemail service and not a new phone number. I was a lucky early beta adopter of the Google Voice service and actually really like it. I use my Google Voice phone number, but mostly as a message line. With recent updates Google Voice has made plus the Google Chrome plugin that makes it really easy to access your voicemails, I have wanted to make Google Voice my primary Voicemail line, so here is how I did it.

I have an iPhone and a Google Nexus One Phone. The Nexus One is easy to set up for use with Google Voice. There is a setting right in the phone, you switch it on and it’s good to go. With the iPhone it is a bit more challenging.

To set up your iPhone to forward all voicemails directly to Google Voice with out using additional minutes or data you will need to do the following.

Step 1:
On you iPhone (or any GSM-based phone), pull up the keypad and type the following, substituting 1234567890 with your 10-digit Google Voice/GrandCentral account:
*61*1234567890#
To deactivate the forwarding and return to regular visual voicemail enter ##61# and hit call.

If you are on AT&T in the US then I suggest using these settings which will forward not only your regular voicemail but your busy voicemail as well (This is the option I use personally).
*004*1234567890*11#
To deactivate the forwarding and return to regular visual voicemail enter ##004# and hit call.

Step 2:
Log in to your Google Voice account and turn on Do Not Disturb mode. You will want to do this so that when your iPhone forwards to your Google Voice after the typical five or so rings, it will not go through the five or so rings it would take Google Voice before the voicemail picked up. Do Not Disturb sends the incoming call directly to voicemail.

That’s it. All unanswered calls to your iPhone will instantly be dropped in to your Google Voice voicemail.

Tip: You will need to disable any linked phones you have set up on your Google Voice account. If you do not do this, the phone will ring 2-3 additional times before it goes to voicemail resulting in a total of 7-8 or more rings before the caller actually reaches voicemail.

The only problem is that this will make your Google Voice account nothing but a voicemail. Of course you can still use your Google Voice phone number, but if someone calls it, the call will go directly to voicemail.

If you still want access to your Google Voice number then I suggest you set up an additional Google Voice account and use that account for your voicemail. This could get a little confusing to set up and I don’t want to get into those details.

How to easily access your Google Voicemail on the iPhone:

Accessing your Google Voice voicemail is easy on the iPhone. There are two ways to do this.

First Option: Open Safari, go to http://google.com/voice, click on the “+” at the bottom menu in Safari, tap “Add to Home Screen”. Then click add. This will add a shortcut to your home screen that will launch Google Voice in Safari. On occasion you may need to use your password to re-enter Google Voice.

Second and Way Better Option: Use the VoiceCentral app. Because Apple is currently blocking native apps that work with services such as Google Voice there is a work around. Visit http://voicecentral.riverturn.com from your iPhone and choose the free version. The paid version removes ads and has a few minor feature additions but the free version will do you just fine. Once you install and set up this app you will be able to access your Google Voice with great ease. I really like the app and have been using it since they released it.

If you are using the Google Chrome browser on your Mac or PC computer there is a nifty plugin that will add your Google Voice voicemail and transcribed voicemails to an easy to access button. Being that I spend 75% of my day in a web browser it makes it much easier for me to access voicemail that way.

From what I understand, it is easy to forward your other phones to point voicemail to Google Voice as well. You can Google search your way to those answers as I do not have a land line to do testing on.

If you have any questions about Google Voice or how to use it with your devices feel free to comment me in the box below. I will answer your questions on my blog so that they are available for everybody to read should they have the same question.

One Voicemail To Rule Them All!