Google Voice is a Google feature that allows you to manage your calls through your Google account. Google Voice offers a number of features, such as the ability to create a single phone number that will direct calls to multiple phones, even if each of those phones has a different phone number. Google Voice also offers a variety of voice mail features and settings to block, screen or forward calls as you desire.
One Phone Number
With a Google Voice account, you can designate all of your calls to go through one single phone number. What this means is that if you have a cellphone, land line, and office phone with different phone numbers, you can set up a single phone number through Google Voice that will cause all of the devices to ring at once. In addition to this, Google Voice allows the user to route calls from certain people to designated devices so that the user can route one person's calls to all of their phone numbers, while restricting other calls to specific phone numbers.
Google Voice is currently an invitation-only service, meaning that in order to sign up for it, you must receive an invitation from another user, or have an invitation sent from Google's Voice website. Once you've received your invite and activated a number, you can adjust the settings of Google Voice by clicking the gear icon in the top-right corner of your browser, and navigating to Voice Settings. From here, you can decide which phone number you'd like to use as your Google Voice phone number, as well as adjust settings and preferences related to your Google Voice account. Once your Google Voice number has been set up, any time someone calls that phone number, the Google Voice system will forward that phone call to each appropriate phone, causing it to ring.
When you do not answer a call, the caller will be given the option to leave a message in your Google voice mail box. You can check your voice mail any time by either logging into Google Voice from your computer and checking your voice mail or by calling your Google number. In addition, you can also disable the voice mail feature in your Voice Settings menu in Gmail, if you would like each phone number to use its own voice mail -- such as your cell phone's built-in voice mail service. However, Google Voice's voice mail service allows you to record different greetings for different callers, so you can record a special greeting for a specific loved one.
In addition to the features above, Google Voice also provides the ability for you to screen callers. This means that you can listen in as a caller leaves a new voice message, allowing you to choose to either answer the call in the middle of the message, or return the person's call later. Voice messages also go to storage automatically, and you can share them over the Internet with others. All of this is made possible by the fact that voice mail messages save to an online database, similar to the way your Google email is saved.