How do I streamline my phone service so people can get me?
March 25, 2009 6:33 AM   Subscribe

Help me streamline my phone needs. How can Google Talk help me in real life?

Okay, my questions is more of a "What can this do for me" than a "How can I make this work."

Here's my problem- and I'm sure its the same problem a LOT of people have: My cell phone works like CRAP at home (I have a house in the Boston suburbs). People call and end up leaving a message on my cell, even though its right there in my pocket. I have a home phone but most people call the cell first and the home phone is more for the type of people who don't call cell phones like my parents or my kids school. We use it exclusively when we're home to call out, though.

What I would like is some means of getting cell phone calls at home, whether it be through Google Voice or some other method. I'm an at-home parent so if I'm not at home I'm out with the kids- no work number. People don't call my wife on her cell phone so this is more MY problem than hers.

What can I do to make this work? Google Voice seems interesting but I can't seem to wrap my head around how it all works. Plus, I'd prefer not to have to give out ANOTHER number, ya know?

Any guidance would be GREATLY appreciated.

Oh, and I'm on Verizon for home and cell but will likely be switching cell to AT&T this summer when the new iPhone comes out.
posted by Thrillhouse to Technology (10 answers total)
Why not just get a Cellular repeater? Don't need to worry about google voice or new numbers or anything else, your phone just starts working better.

Admittedly I've never used one, so if anyone has experience with them it'd be much appreciated.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:10 AM on March 25, 2009

if you want to use Google Voice, you'll need to give out a new number, but then, that's the last number you'll ever need.

(you could theoretically get another cellphone, port your existing number to that cell, and a new number for your cell. then on the new phone with your old number, forward all calls to your Google Voice number, but this will break the SMS functionality of Google Voice, so I don't recommend it)

Once you give everyone your new Google Voice number someone calls you, all your phones ring. if you're not home, you answer on your cell, if you're home, you answer at home.

if you answer at home, and need to head out the door, you press a key while on the call, and your cell rings. you pick up your cell and continue the call, and your caller won't even know you changed.

the nice thing about give out the Google Voice number is that when you switch to AT&T, you don't really care about porting your number, you can just update google voice and everyone who calls you won't know the difference.
posted by jrishel at 7:11 AM on March 25, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks jrishel. Couple of questions- When someone calls and I don't answer either, which voicemail picks up? Google Voice, home machine, or cell voice? If its Google Voice, is there a way to forward that message to my cell voice or something? I'd like to ultimatley use the visual voicemail application in the iPhone to handle all of that.

Also, When someone sends me an SMS, does that ALWAYS go right to the cell?

Also! :) When I'm calling out from my cell, people will see it as my cell number and not my google voice number, right? Which means people will need to have that number programmed into their phones in order to recognize the call as coming from me.
posted by Thrillhouse at 7:24 AM on March 25, 2009

Response by poster: ALSO! :) I just sent myself a text and the FROM: was some unknown 406 number. It didn't tell me who it actually came from. If I go into my google voice account online it DOES show me where it came from, though.
posted by Thrillhouse at 7:49 AM on March 25, 2009

Google Voice will be perfect for you when it comes out.
posted by gregr at 7:52 AM on March 25, 2009

According to Lifehacker (and many others) Google Voice will allow you to port in your old number.

By the way, because no one will need to know your cell phone number, state cell phone taxes should become a competitive market because no one will be embarrassed to have an Idaho number.

I am also concerned about that outgoing caller id OP asked about. Any ideas?
posted by alexherder at 9:24 AM on March 25, 2009

Before you do any of this complicated business, I'd bring a friend over that has AT&T service and see if you'd get drastically better reception on it. I have an iPhone and my roommate has a Verizon Blackberry. I get great service at our house and he gets zilch. It's not that normal (Verizon has a way better-built-out network, apparently), but there is a slight chance that it will work better than your current phone.

Just a thought. Sorry I can't actually answer any of your questions about Google Voice.
posted by General Malaise at 12:21 PM on March 25, 2009

When someone calls your Google Voice number and you don't answer, Google Voice voicemail picks up, not your cellphone, home phone, etc. You can call into your mailbox to hear the messages, but I've never tried to forward the voicemail anywhere (and doubt it's possible). Text transcription might help you on the iPhone though.

When you call out, your calls are not going through Google Voice so they will see whatever number you are calling from.
posted by Fin Azvandi at 1:59 PM on March 25, 2009

you can use the mobile grand central webpage (haven't tried google voice portion yet) to dial out, so the number seen by the person you are calling is your google voice number.

On Android there is an app called GV that can completely replace the phone's normal dial pad so all calls are routed through the Google Voice system. it is quite slick. perhaps the iPhone has a similar app?
posted by jrishel at 11:39 AM on April 3, 2009

also, I just used the google voice site to send an SMS, and it came in as my google voice number. the Android GV app can also replace the default SMS app.
posted by jrishel at 11:53 AM on April 3, 2009

« Older Does neckache causes your brain to not function at...   |   What is "La famille"? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.