This can be especially valuable for:
- Family members (grandma?) who email & want to stay connected with the family, but do not want/like hassle of texting on a cell phone. This can be great for keeping someone in the loop when group-texting or using a group texting app like GroupMe or Beluga or kik or others.
- If you go overseas and want to keep a/your "home" mobile number for people to text you without incurring international charges.
- Anyone who does not have/want the additional charges of a cell phone plan/hardware.
- Anyone who would rather send/receive texts using a real keyboard, not your thumbs.
- If you run a small business or some other function where texting would be valuable, but you don’t want to give out your cell phone number.
- If you don’t have unlimited texting (or don’t want to spend money for texting) on your cell phone.
How to Set Up:
- Get a Google Voice number. You can easily sign up at http://google.com/voice. If you already have a Google account, just enter your password and accept the terms. If you don’t have a Google account (what rock do you live under?), set one up.
- Google Voice will walk you through selecting a number. Easy-peasy.
- OPTIONAL: If you want to port your existing mobile number to Google Voice, its $20 clams, but then you’re set.
- You will have to validate at least ONE real-life phone before you can activate your Google Voice account. This is simple, and Google will walk you through it.
- In options, choose to have Google Voice forward SMS messages to your email address.
- Test by sending a text message to your Google Voice number, and then checking your email account.
How to Use:
There are three ways to texting with Google Voice:
- First, have Google Voice forward SMS messages to your mobile phone (if you have one). Then simply reply to the texts you receive and you’re in the conversation!
- Second, send and reply to texts online at http://voice.google.com. This works similar to an email inbox. Just click on the text message you want to reply to, type in the box, and send!
- Third, if you enabled "forward SMS messages to my email" in your Google Voice settings, then SMS messages will show up in your email box. To reply to them, simply REPLY to the email and send! *
- Going overseas? You may be blocked from creating a Google Voice account if you’re already away from the US. Create your account before you go!
- Save the specially-crafted email address you get from your friends’ texts in your address book for quick messaging!
- Google Voice does NOT currently support sending or receiving MMS/media or picture/video messages. There is no error message to the sender if they try to send you one either… they just get dropped like yesterday’s newspaper.
- Remember, text messages are normally only 160 characters long. In your email program, you can get a little carried away. Don’t type a book… if you need to communicate THAT much information, send them an ACTUAL email!
- Get the APP: If you have an android-based phone, jump to the marketplace and grab the Google Voice app. This operates wholly over WIFI/cellular connection wherever you are and sends texts using data (not "texts" or minutes).
- Get the mobile web: If your mobile device (iphone, ipad, PalmOS, blackberry, etc) does not happen to have access to Google Voice apps, jump to voice.google.com in your mobile browser, and be pleased to discover a full-featured web environment ready for your data-friendly consumption. Again, this uses DATA (wifi or cellular, etc) and not texts/minutes from your carrier.