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Using Voicemail with Google Voice

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Nancy Conner shows how to master using voicemail with Google Voice.
This chapter is from the book

Google Voice voicemail capabilities far outstrip simple answering machines with its seemingly endless options. You can receive messages on the Web or using your phone. You can record custom greetings, set security using PINs, add notes to voicemails, restrict voicemail access by phone, send all calls to voicemail automatically (or send just specific callers to voicemail), and much more.

Welcome to Google Voicemail

If you've set up a Google Voice account, you've already got voicemail built in—how easy is that? Voicemail comes automatically with all Google Voice accounts.

By default, voicemail is enabled on your Google Voice phone number. So you don't have to lift a finger to set it up.

Using Google Voice Voicemail on a Mobile Phone

Mobile phone users can get all the benefits of the Google Voice voicemail system. That's right—you can set up your mobile phone to send voicemails directly to the Google Voice system.

Currently, this works only if your mobile phone is from one of these carriers:

  • Alltel
  • AT&T
  • Cricket Wireless
  • MetroPCS
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • US Cellular
  • Verizon

If you use one of these service providers, the first thing to do is add your mobile phone to Google Voice as a forwarding phone (click the Settings link, the Phones tab, and then click the Add Another Phone link). Once you've done that, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Google Voice site and log in (if necessary).
  2. Click the Settings link to open the Settings page.
  3. Click the Phones tab.
  4. Click the Activate Google Voicemail on This Phone link for the mobile phone you want to give Google Voice voicemail access to. The dialog box shown in Figure 5.1 opens.
    Figure 5.1

    Figure 5.1 Activating a mobile phone for voicemail.

  5. From your mobile phone, dial the number indicated in the dialog box.
  6. Press Call or Send to make the call from your mobile phone. Google Voice answers and gives you a confirmation message.

You've now added your mobile phone to Google Voice and set it up to use Google Voice voicemail. Read on to find out how to use all of those great Google Voice voicemail features.

You've Got Voicemail!

When someone calls you on your Google Voice number (or on a mobile phone you've assigned to Google Voice), the caller is prompted for his name by default, and Google Voice calls your listed phones. If you don't pick up, Google Voice informs the caller that you're not available with a recorded message (you find out how to customize the message later in this lesson) and asks him to "please leave a message after the tone." The standard answering machine beep then sounds.

At that point, your caller can leave a message and hang up. Great—you've got voicemail. Now how do you pick it up?

There are two ways to pick up your voicemail—on the Web (using the Google Voice site) and from a phone. We take a look at both in the following sections.

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