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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Use Google Voice For a Free Home Phone and Free Texting

Google Voice offers nationwide calling and one number to use for all your phones at no charge at all.  If you don't want to pay for a landline in your home but have a mobile phone this is for you.  If you want to "hook up" your home phone to your computer, this is for you.  If you want free texting to your iPhone, this is for you.  If you have a million phones and don't want to keep track of them all... this is for you.

Here's what you need:
1) A mobile phone number
2) A computer a microphone and speakers (or bluetooth/headset) with internet connection
3) A Google account
4) A smart phone (optional - for free texting)

To use Google Voice as a landline, simply do the following steps:
  1. Log in to
  2. You should see steps pop up to let you choose your google number and add your mobile phone number.
  3. If you haven't already done so, set your Google number to forward to your gmail chat account.
    1. to do this, go to Voice Settings->Phones tab.
    2. Check on the first checkbox so that it forwards to your gmail account.
  4. Give out your Google Number as your number.
  5. That's it.

Free Texting

I heard that the Android version of Google Voice app is only voicemail.  I only have an iPhone so can only say that it works for the iPhone.
  1. To get free texting, download the Google Voice app from the App Store.  
  2. Sign in with your google login.  
  3. Tell your friends to text your google number instead of your mobile phone number.  

When a text goes to the google number it shows up both in your Google Voice webpage on your computer and on your mobile phone (as long as you have it forwarding to your phone in the settings).  So if you are working on the computer and your phone is far away, when someone texts you, you can reply without getting your phone.

A Free Landline

Now to receive calls from other people to your computer, open and sign into Google Voice.  There is currently no "official" google voice desktop where you can just open an application and use it.  There are many 3rd party applications here, but I am just logging into gmail and waiting for the official google version.  When someone calls you, you will get a popup saying someone is calling you.  Answer it and you will be able to hear and talk to them over the internet (also known as VoIP).  Note, that if you have it forwarding to your mobile phone, it will ring on your mobile phone also.  You can answer it on your phone or on your computer.  If you answer on your computer, you will not get charged for the call on your cellphone.  Read on the next section for another way to get a landline.

iPod as Your Home Phone (Landline)

Google Voice brings up many questions like, "can I use my home phone for google voice?", "can I speak and receive calls on my ipod?".  The Google Voice app has the potential to make calls from your iphone ... BUT this was not implemented probably because it would not mesh well with AT&T and Verizon.  Other VoIP applications have been approved on the App Store, but Google's app is different.  Google allows VoIP to a real phone number while other apps only allow calls within a specific software.  Do not use the Google Voice App on your iPhone to try to get free calls.  The app will just use your mobile line and you'll use your cellphone minutes.

Since Google Voice doesn't get you free calls, you can check out an app called Talkatone.  I first heard about it at Cybernet News.  **Use this at your own risk** because this app is not made by Google, but requires that you log into your Google account.  Call me old fashioned or paranoid, but I don't like the idea of having an app made by an unknown company taking my username/password for another account.

Here's what I did to make my iPod into my home phone.
  1. Create a new Google account or one that you do not mind someone hacking into.
  2. Set up Google Voice with this account (note, I'm not sure if you need a mobile phone to sign up, but if it says you do, you can always remove the number after you sign up).  You need a mobile phone attached to the account.  Otherwise there will just be a loud tone when a call is connected.
  3. Download Talkatone (for free) in the App Store.
  4. Log into your Google account from step 1 through the Talkatone App.
  5. Hook up a headset so that you can speak and hear clearly
  6. Make calls, receive calls, test it out!  oh, make sure your ipod has a wifi connection of course.
I have no affiliation with Talkatone and do not get any compensation if you download or use it.  This is purely something I have found and find very interesting. 


Above all the features that Google Voice offers, it's convenience.  I talked about both calls and texts going to both your computer and phone.  So if you are by your computer and not your phone or by your phone and not your computer, you have the ability be lazy, not move and still be social.  And of course, you have the ability to have all your numbers ring your google voice number.

Porting your Number

One of the easiest ways to save your mobile number and use google voice is to port your mobile number to google.  Once you port it, everyone who calls your mobile number will be calling Google Voice.   It costs about $20 and takes up to 24 hours for the changes to take effect.  I myself have not done it so I'm only speaking from what I have read.  Instead of me trying to explain it and possibly getting you confused, you can view google's video.  The reason I have not done it is because Google Voice is free "through 2011" only.  No one knows if they will start charging in 2012.  Another reason is that they do not have a number in my area code.  So for me it's not worth it right now.


  1. Spot on. I recently learned about answering calls from my laptop through google voice too. Saves me a bunch of minutes.

  2. Rockin this on my ipod touch, gvoice + talkatone.. works amazing, unlimited and free.