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Getting a new Google Voice number also makes it easier to revert back to your traditional voicemail. Visual voicemail may not be what you expect. It is not perfectly accurate. Due to the poor quality of phone calls, speech recognition doesn’t work as well. Transcribed voicemails are full of errors, but you can usually figure out the meaning by context. Some people also like to use their Google Voice number when signing up on web forms, so as to dodge the telemarketing calls.
This how-to article assumes you will be obtaining a new Google Voice number. Either option will provide you with visual voicemail. This article informs you how to set it up for free. Selecting a new number is free, but using your existing mobile number is not.
Once you have selected your phone number option, you are asked to enter a phone number for verification. Simply enter the number of your existing mobile phone or land line. Once completed, Google Voice will call this number. Pick up the phone call and, when prompted, punch in the two-digit number to verify the phone number.
The next step is to get your new Google Voice phone number. Since many phone numbers are taken, Google Voice can generate one for you. Type your area code, zip code or city in the first box. You can optionally type in a word, phrase or number in the second box on the right. Doing so might not produce any available phone numbers. If so, try again with a new word, phrase or number, or simply leave it blank. Click the “Search Numbers” button to generate a list of available numbers. Select a number and you’re done.
You are now presented with the Google Voice main page, which displays your inbox. Your inbox will already have an introductory message. If you would like to turn off call forwarding to the phone you used for verification, perform the following steps.
Click on the gear wheel on the top right of the web page and select “settings” from the drop down menu. A tabbed page of settings will appear, with the “Phones” tab visible. Uncheck the phone number you used to verify, if you don’t want Google Voice to forward calls. If you are just using Google Voice for visual voicemail, you probably don’t want it to forward calls to another phone.
I also suggest turning on “Do Not Disturb” on the “Calls” tab. This will ensure that Google Voice rolls over to voicemail immediately after being forwarded from your mobile phone. This is ideal if you are just using Google Voice for your voicemail inbox. By default, Google Voice will ring a few times. This has the unfortunate consequence of forcing callers to endure two sets of rings before they can leave a voicemail. Putting Google Voice in “Do Not Disturb” mode is recommended if you want this to work like proper voicemail. (continue…)