Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

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Saving$
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Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by Saving$ » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:59 pm

An older friend on a budget asked me about replacing their secondary ring master type line, associated with their landline that costs about $10-$12/month extra. I'd like to suggest Google Voice (and perhaps do some implementation of GV for myself also, once I learn more about it)

My friend does not want to lose the phone number, because
- they have had it for 20+ years, there are presumably people, whom they have not heard from in years, but who only have this particular number
- it is the number you get if you google this person
- they use the number as a "decoy" number, when they are forced to give a phone number for something, but don't want to share their cell or home number, and want to keep that ability.

However they want to change the setup
- To save the $10-$12/month the phone company charges for ringmaster
- To stop the ringing from the robo survey/political calls. When I turned the ringer off, their main home phone also stops ringing, so that won't work

I've researched Google Voice and think it might work well. I learned the following but would appreciate any other suggestions and/or corrections from this group!
1. GV apparently only accepts cell phone numbers, so they need to temporarily port the number to a cell first. What is the best way to do this?
2. The GV needs to be associated with a gmail address, but my friend should get a separate email address to associate it with and not use their main gmail address
3. Once the number is on GV it can be forwarded to another number, but does not need to be.
4. GV will transcribe messages to read and save them as voice files to listen to, both from the computer logged onto the new gmail account.
5. They can download an app onto an Iphone and check this GV number through that app, but if the app is closed, their Iphone and cell number will work as normal.

Are there any downsides to using GV in this scenario? Is there a better (lower cost, simpler?) option?

Copper John
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by Copper John » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:12 pm

I have used my Google Voice number as a "decoy" number as you describe in your post for years.

You have the ability to set it up with a "do not disturb" function and with that turned on calls will not ring your phone and instead go to voice mail. You will get an email with a transcription of the voice mail as an attached audio file of the voice mail message.

When I sold my own home I turned off the "Do Not Disturb" setting and gave that to prospective buyers and agents. This kept me from having to "burn" my own cell number. When the home sold I turned that function back on.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by unclescrooge » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:15 pm

I have Ooma as my landline. It costs about $3.88 a month

brokendirtdart
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by brokendirtdart » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:14 am

I have also used Google Voice as a throw away number for years. As I do not have a landline, I forward it to my iphone number through GV's IOS app.

It has come in handy many times for moving events, selling on craigslist, and also for times when a random internet form stubbornly requires two phone numbers.

The only problem I have had is maybe twice a year, the forwarding will stop until I log in again through the app. This usually coincides with a major security update and as long as I occasionally go into the app, I see no loss of service.

A spare number that I can text or call from, transcribes voice mails into an email, allows screening calls(similar to an old collect call), and that I can change at any time is hard to beat for free.

danaht
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by danaht » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:54 am

I use Google Voice as my Primary (mobile) and Secondary (land line) numbers. It's a great service. Not sure how Google makes money on this - but hoping the service lasts a long time. There are really no cons other than you need a data connection (or wifi) and you can not dial 911. I use my cell phone (the non Google voice # that I don't broadcast) for any 911 calls. The easiest way to transfer your existing land line number to Google Voice is to transfer your number to a pre-paid T-Mobile cell phone first. Once your number is on the T-Mobile cell phone you can then transfer it to Google Voice. This should cost $10 for a used T-mobile cell phone, $5 for a pre paid T-Mobile sim, and $20 to transfer to Google Voice. There are some risks to this approach and it will take a couple weeks to do all the transfers. Make sure other numbers with the same area code and prefix are transferable to Google Voice before doing this - since not all area codes/prefixes can be transferred to Google Voice.

traveltoomuch
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by traveltoomuch » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:31 am

Saving$ wrote: 1. GV apparently only accepts cell phone numbers, so they need to temporarily port the number to a cell first. What is the best way to do this?
2. The GV needs to be associated with a gmail address, but my friend should get a separate email address to associate it with and not use their main gmail address
3. Once the number is on GV it can be forwarded to another number, but does not need to be.
4. GV will transcribe messages to read and save them as voice files to listen to, both from the computer logged onto the new gmail account.
5. They can download an app onto an Iphone and check this GV number through that app, but if the app is closed, their Iphone and cell number will work as normal.

Are there any downsides to using GV in this scenario? Is there a better (lower cost, simpler?) option?
1. Pick a cheap MVNO that works with a spare/old phone you have around. I like Ting. http://www.ting.com

2. I prefer using a separate account, but it's not necessary.

3-4 are accurate; I'm not sure about 5. No downsides that I'm aware of. It's hard to beat free. An even more aggressive option is to get rid of the landline entirely, port the main number to Google Voice (in addition to the secondary number), and use an Obi device to provide dial tone in the house. Completely free phone service.

JohnFiscal
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by JohnFiscal » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:36 am

We have used Google Voice as our "primary" number for years. Our Verizon land line (as part of cable package) is the "throw away" line for spam, etc. With GV we have more control (versus "none") over blocking callers, etc. It is very convenient and the voip is just fine...no diff from Verizon's quality.

smackboy1
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by smackboy1 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:41 am

Saving$ wrote:However they want to change the setup
- To save the $10-$12/month the phone company charges for ringmaster
- To stop the ringing from the robo survey/political calls. When I turned the ringer off, their main home phone also stops ringing, so that won't work

I've researched Google Voice and think it might work well. I learned the following but would appreciate any other suggestions and/or corrections from this group!
1. GV apparently only accepts cell phone numbers, so they need to temporarily port the number to a cell first. What is the best way to do this?
2. The GV needs to be associated with a gmail address, but my friend should get a separate email address to associate it with and not use their main gmail address
3. Once the number is on GV it can be forwarded to another number, but does not need to be.
4. GV will transcribe messages to read and save them as voice files to listen to, both from the computer logged onto the new gmail account.
5. They can download an app onto an Iphone and check this GV number through that app, but if the app is closed, their Iphone and cell number will work as normal.

Are there any downsides to using GV in this scenario? Is there a better (lower cost, simpler?) option?
GV is free. That's about as low cost as it gets. The downside is that there is no tech support or customer service. Also, Google does not make it a secret that it is using your personal data including parsing phone calls, voice mail and text.

The easiest way I've found to port a landline # is to first port the landline to a prepaid phone service. Second, port the # to GV. Then cancel the prepaid phone service.

To reduce robocalls and telemarketers, use Nomorobo. Nomorobo uses simultaneous ringing and caller ID to screen calls for you.

GV can dial/receive calls on smartphones using GV app, Hangouts and Hangouts Dialer. You can even set up GV to be your international phone provider and make cheap international calls.

You can have your GV # ring at your house on a phone handset using a device like OBihai and an internet connection.

GV is VOIP and not the same as plain old telephone service (POTS) over copper/fiber. 911 emergency calls may not be able to find your location. The quality of the voice call is dependent on many factors like bandwidth, latency, packet loss, jitter etc.. It's possible you may have to upgrade to a higher data plan for cell and home. If there is a problem with the cell network, ISPs network, home LAN, or loss of power, phone calls may not be possible e.g. during a state of emergency.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

open_circuit
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by open_circuit » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:47 am

I use Google voice as a landline at our house with an Obi200 VOIP adapter. Service is completely free (excluding cost of the adapter). I think there are other VOIP adapters that work with Google voice also. Obi is easy to setup.

Beware that you need to pay for separate e911 service if you want 911 calls to work when used with a static VOIP adapter. I use a service that costs about $15/year for e911. For us, it is important that "911" works if our children pick up the handsets on the Google voice line to make an emergency call.

tech_arch
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by tech_arch » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:38 pm

I've used GV as my primary for many years now. Most other posters have addressed all of the questions except having it ring your mobile phone: the app does not have to be open for your phone to ring; I've done this on both Android phones and my current iPhone 7. You can have GV forward to your main number and the phone will always rings.

We also have an Obi with a GV number and a small annual e911 fee in case our kids ever need to dial 911 since we do not have a traditional land line.

Blender
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by Blender » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:57 pm

I also use GV and an Obi 200 for our home "landline". Cost is $0 + $15/yr for E911.

I also use GV on my business cell phone to combine my long held personal cell # and my work cell #. I receive voice/text from both numbers and can dial out as either one as well on just one phone. I got tired of having 2 cell phones and this has actually worked out great, especially now that MMS comes directly via text instead of email attachments.

perl
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by perl » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:38 pm

A nice feature of Google voice that I haven't seen mentioned is that I get a type of call screening when calls to that number ring my cell phone. When I answer, the robot says "Call from..." and then I hear the person's recorded name. I can then accept or reject the call. It's great.

Saving$
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Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:33 pm

Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by Saving$ » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:05 pm

perl wrote:A nice feature of Google voice that I haven't seen mentioned is that I get a type of call screening when calls to that number ring my cell phone. When I answer, the robot says "Call from..." and then I hear the person's recorded name. I can then accept or reject the call. It's great.
This sounds cool. Does this work even if you don't have the caller's name in your contacts?

b4real
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by b4real » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:12 pm

I replaced our landline with an Obi200 and GV about 3 years ago and have no complaints. My GV number rings on the Obi and on my cell phone. DW's GV rings on the Obi and her cell. Each number has a different ring on the house phones. We have 5 wireless phones throughout the house with the master connected to the Obi. The Obi connects to the router. The quality of the voip calls on the house phones is as good as the old landline. We also have the $15/yr e911 service and use the do not disturb feature. I bought the Obi on ebay for $25 so not a big investment. I don't use the call screening option but just don't answer unrecognized numbers. I usually lookup an unrecognized number and then block it if it's a junk number. Another nice feature is getting transcribed VM sent to my email. Before our retirement move last year, I kept the landline with the bare minimum local service to get the bundled internet which was cheaper then internet alone. At the new location we were able to get internet without the landline.

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sunny_socal
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by sunny_socal » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:52 am

Another GV + Obi user here, $0 phone bill. We ported our main phone number to T-mobile and then to GV. I also picked up a 'spare' GV number (there was a one time fee) for use as a Craigslist number. So there's some work involved but the 'free' part is a gift that keeps on giving! :beer The arrangement is completely hands off after the initial setup, grandma has no idea she's calling a virtual VOIP number, it sounds and behaves just like crusty old landline :D

My life also has less stress than before. Things I no longer need to worry about:
- Perpetually increasing phone bills
- Little regulatory fees thrown on top of my bill
- Bait & switch tactics from the phone company
- Obscure pricing plans
- Installation fees
- Long hold times waiting to talk to a sales rep or technician
- Listening to phone/internet/TV 'bundle' sales pitches
- The monstrous $65/month bill for a basic landline phone!

clutchied
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by clutchied » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:36 pm

Saving$ wrote:An older friend on a budget asked me about replacing their secondary ring master type line, associated with their landline that costs about $10-$12/month extra. I'd like to suggest Google Voice (and perhaps do some implementation of GV for myself also, once I learn more about it)

My friend does not want to lose the phone number, because
- they have had it for 20+ years, there are presumably people, whom they have not heard from in years, but who only have this particular number
- it is the number you get if you google this person
- they use the number as a "decoy" number, when they are forced to give a phone number for something, but don't want to share their cell or home number, and want to keep that ability.

However they want to change the setup
- To save the $10-$12/month the phone company charges for ringmaster
- To stop the ringing from the robo survey/political calls. When I turned the ringer off, their main home phone also stops ringing, so that won't work

I've researched Google Voice and think it might work well. I learned the following but would appreciate any other suggestions and/or corrections from this group!
1. GV apparently only accepts cell phone numbers, so they need to temporarily port the number to a cell first. What is the best way to do this?
2. The GV needs to be associated with a gmail address, but my friend should get a separate email address to associate it with and not use their main gmail address
3. Once the number is on GV it can be forwarded to another number, but does not need to be.
4. GV will transcribe messages to read and save them as voice files to listen to, both from the computer logged onto the new gmail account.
5. They can download an app onto an Iphone and check this GV number through that app, but if the app is closed, their Iphone and cell number will work as normal.

Are there any downsides to using GV in this scenario? Is there a better (lower cost, simpler?) option?
I use google voice as my contact number for rental inquiries. It's a local number so it's not weird. I live in the Midwest and I'm not sure how people would feel calling a CA number for a rental... anyways it works really well and I get to pick a really catchy number.

testing321
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by testing321 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:54 pm

We are also using GV with a OBI200 box connected to the internet and plugged into a phone jack. It rings all our phones that are also plugged into a jack. The service is just as good as the phone service that we used to have bundled with Uverse except that caller ID only shows the number and not the name. We will use our cell phones if we ever need to call 911. I did not transfer our decades old landline number as we have been giving out our cell phone numbers for several years. We rarely get junk calls on GV whereas we used to get several a day on the landline. I currently have GV set to not forward calls to our cell phones because I don't want to hear both phones ring, but I can change that when we travel.

In the GV app on the phone, you see all the calls you answered or made and flag numbers as junk. Google uses that information to block junk callers. I never gave Google any credit card information.

perl
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by perl » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:27 am

Saving$ wrote:
perl wrote:A nice feature of Google voice that I haven't seen mentioned is that I get a type of call screening when calls to that number ring my cell phone. When I answer, the robot says "Call from..." and then I hear the person's recorded name. I can then accept or reject the call. It's great.
This sounds cool. Does this work even if you don't have the caller's name in your contacts?
Yes, it does.

takeshi
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by takeshi » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:23 am

Saving$ wrote:The GV needs to be associated with a gmail address, but my friend should get a separate email address to associate it with and not use their main gmail address
It can be done that way but why do you think it should be a separate Google account? What's the reasoning?
Saving$ wrote:Once the number is on GV it can be forwarded to another number, but does not need to be.
Be aware that you can't just use Google Voice by itself. It has to forward to some sort of service.
https://support.google.com/voice/answer/115061?hl=en
Many in this thread use a VOIP solution.
Saving$ wrote:They can download an app onto an Iphone and check this GV number through that app, but if the app is closed, their Iphone and cell number will work as normal.
The iPhone's cell number works normally whether or not the GV app is open. The GV app is used to place calls using GV, check messages, etc. If the iPhone's stock dialer is used then the call will go out on the iPhone's number instead of the GV number.

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htdrag11
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Re: Google Voice as secondary number: pros & cons

Post by htdrag11 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:03 pm

Another plus for GV is that it will flag telemarketer as spam. I did not know that until today. :D

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