Google Voice ok for business use? Or what else?
September 28, 2013 11:42 AM   Subscribe

"It is not advised that you use Google Voice services for your business as we do not provide enterprise support. Use at your own discretion." Carry on, or find another provider?

I want to get a Google Voice number to use for business/strangers, and keep my cell phone number for personal use. Separate voicemails, business number doesn't ring during certain hours, etc.. To know which phone system is being used to call me, and to be able to call out using either of those numbers.

According to this article ( and previous AskMes, Voice can do it. However that article says:
"Google clearly states that 'it is not advised that you use Google Voice services for your business as we do not provide enterprise support. Use at your own discretion.'"

Does everybody use it anyway, and it's fine, or what are my risks?

Or, who else offers functions like this in a more reliable fashion (I have an Android phone if that matters) and what might the cost be?

posted by Anwan to Technology (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Like all free Google services, it's provided at "best effort" levels. They won't guarantee functionality, and they don't have support personnel available. This is no different from a major website embedding custom Google Maps into their website. If it's available, great - it's free and works. If it doesn't work, well, they warned you.

All they're saying is that if you rely on Google Voice for your mail-order business, don't go crying to them if/when it's offline for the 3 busiest hours the day before Christmas. Because they don't have people to cry at.

Personally, I'd be fine relying on it for a one-person business or freelancing. As long as you don't depend on being on your phone all day every day for work, and missing a single call won't cost you a huge chunk of business, it's fine.
posted by WasabiFlux at 11:52 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

They won't guarantee functionality, and they don't have support personnel available.

... and it might go away someday, just like any number of other services Google has mothballed.

I'd find out what the number-portability rules are around Google Voice, just to make sure I had an exit strategy in place, and if they looked like I could transfer my number if I had to, I'd just go ahead with it.
posted by mhoye at 11:59 AM on September 28, 2013

There are other virtual phone systems out there. I decided to go with for my small organization.

Regarding porting Google Voice numbers in the future, I've heard anecdotally that it takes a significant amount of time to happen. Maybe it was just that person, but if you're relying on it to run your business, that may be something to keep in mind.
posted by postel's law at 12:02 PM on September 28, 2013

I think it depends what you mean by "for business use".

I have a google voice number I use as my "local number", mostly for work. I'll also use that number any time I want to control, as you say, when people call me, how voicemail happens (I love the email voicemail feature), etc. It's not the main number for a business that I run. If I don't get a call for some reason, it's not a big deal. I'm not using it as a number for customers to rely on or my primary way of doing business.

Now, would I use google voice as the primary point of contact for a customer facing business? No.
posted by Sara C. at 12:44 PM on September 28, 2013

I use GV exclusively. I have two numbers actually. I have ported a number to it, never from it. The port went as smooth as a baby's bottom. I count on it and have not yet been let down. The one thing that does bother me is that they have not really been adding features or focusing on it at all. I would love for them to add MMS.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:13 PM on September 28, 2013

I've used Google Voice since the GrandCentral days (maybe 2005?). I use it all day, everyday and it's solid for my needs.

I do worry that they may mothball it.
posted by 26.2 at 4:14 PM on September 28, 2013

I use Google Voice for my work as a freelance journalist, which I do as a one-person business (My Real Name LLC). I would be in trouble if the Google Voice service crashed when I was on deadline, but it would not kill me -- I could still fall back on email and my personal phone number. If you can say the same, go ahead and use it. If you can't, you should probably think twice.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:11 PM on September 28, 2013

I use Google Voice as a work number on my cell phone. I've been using it for years and have had NO problems with it.
posted by HuronBob at 8:53 PM on September 28, 2013

I use Google Voice for my voicemail, as well as a number that I give out when I have to provide a number for shipping from online retailers, a number to put on my website, etc. I used to use its recording function to record interviews, but after it failed to save an entire hour's interview (as I recall, this happened to me twice, and others have reported similar problems), I stopped using it for that.

Every so often Google Voice seems to go down, because every couple of months I get a voice message on my actual cell provider's voicemail system, rather than on Google Voice voicemail, and then I have to disable Google Voice voicemail temporarily to get to that message, then reenable it. But it's been worth it for me to use it for my voicemail because of the free transcription. The transcriptions aren't very good, but they're good enough that I can get the gist of a voice message before I actually listen to it. I also like the fact that if I want, I can download MP3s of my voice messages, making them portable/exportable in a way that they wouldn't be from my cell provider.
posted by limeonaire at 8:47 AM on September 29, 2013

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