Many people have been interested in using Google Voice, but didn’t want to have to switch to a new phone number.  Google now allows you to configure your account to work with your existing mobile number.  So, without having to give out a new phone number, you can easily begin using Google’s voice mail instead of your carrier’s voice mail system.  Why use Google’s voice mail?  Great features like unlimited online storage of voice messages, custom greetings by contact group or individual, and email alerts including transcriptions (though not perfect).  When you add your mobile number to Google Voice, you will have the option to configure it for use with the voice mail.  It will give you directions and the codes you will need to program your phone.  Don’t worry, it’s always reversible if you change your mind. You make only one sacrifice when not using your carrier’s voice mail system:  no voice message icon will appear on your phone notifying you of a new message.  If you don’t mind that, you’ll gain a lot of other great features.

If you want to use the more sophisticated call management features of Google Voice including call recording, call screening, and the ability to direct calls to specific phones based who is calling or on the day and time, you’ll need to use the new phone number that you select when you create your account.  Whether you use some or all of the features of Google Voice, it’s a powerful free tool that will make your managing your calls and voice messages a pleasure.  Go to voice.google.com to sign up for an account (you may need to wait a few days to receive your invitation by email).

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