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However, despite its potential, the Google Voice app didn't generate much excitement at first. Perhaps it was because Voice was only available to a handful of users in the US, UK, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, and France up until very recently.
Fortunately, Google has now officially decided to launch the full Google Voice experience for all customers in those countries, with access planned for Irish and Canadian users too.
Designed for enterprise use, Google Voice provides account managers on G Suite with all the tools they need to manage voice call data, access detailed reports, manage users, and even establish intelligent call routing. You can also access certified VoIP hardware for your Google Voice experience, designed by Poly (Polycom and Plantronics).
So, what is Google Voice, and why is it such a useful addition to your G Suite experience?
Google Voice Features: Easier Call Management
Google Voice is a cloud-based phone solution intended to support companies of any size or industry background. With Voice, IT teams can quickly and easily assign business numbers to the employees in their network, and track details related to those calls in their administrator account. There's even an option to migrate existing company numbers into the Google Voice application if you want to preserve your current presence
Starting at a price of around $10 per user, Google Voice comes packed full of helpful ways to improve your cloud communications stack. You can even link Google Voice to Hangouts Meet and Chat, to provide a more comprehensive range of collaboration options to your employees.
Google has been planting the seeds of its Voice solution for more than a decade, with the original Voice app introduced in 2009. Now, they're offering a refreshed solution for the age of cloud, features include:
- Smartphone numbers: Your Google Voice number will work on web applications and smartphones alike, so you can send and receive calls wherever you are.
- Simplicity: Voice is easy to navigate and use, whether you're making a call or transcribing a conversation. It's easy to save time on your communication strategy.
- Call control: Manage your conversations more easily by blocking spam numbers and forwarding calls to specific devices.
- Intelligent AI support: Google has implemented its latest AI solutions into Voice, so you can transcribe calls automatically, configure your PBX intelligently, and even integrate with Hangouts Meet and Calendar too.
- Scalable: You can deploy your Google Voice solution from anywhere, at any time, with very little administrative work and planning.
How to Sign up for Google Voice
There are more phone numbers in the world than people.
While Voice might not be the most exciting new addition to the collaboration stack, it's still one of the most crucial. Google's Voice application began development after the acquisition of GrandCentral in 2009. Since then, the telecommunications service has been updated and enhanced to give businesses more control over their business phone, voicemail, and SMS capabilities.
It may give you peace of mind to know that Google believes in its Voice strategy and uses it themselves. More than 80% of the company's voice calls are conducted through Google Voice.
Where to start
Start by visiting the Google Voice page and sign into your Google Account. If you don't have a G Suite or GCP account already, then you'll need to create one before you continue. Once you get into the Voice UI, you'll be able to choose your Google Voice number, based on specific local numbers in your region. You can also decide to migrate your existing numbers into the Google Voice platform.
Keep in mind that you can only use a single phone number with your Voice numbers. However, if you already have a Google Voice number associated with your current account, there are ways around this. You might be able to use another virtual number.
How to Customize Your Google Voice Experience
One of the great things about Google Voice is how much control it gives you when it comes to personalizing your PBX experience. For Google admins, the G Suite console will allow you to consolidate everything from user management, to porting, numbers, and billing.
According to Google, the new and updated version of Google Voice will give businesses of all sizes the opportunity to upgrade their strategy for communication. Alongside easy-to-deploy services, Google's solution also offers improved security and convenience through integrations with Google's safety and AI systems.
If you click through to the Settings section of your Google Voice app, you can customize your Voice experience in a multitude of different ways. For instance, you can set Voice up to make calls, by scrolling down on "Calls Started from this device's phone app." This will allow you to pick Google Voice as your primary mode of communication, rather than your conventional phone number. Domestic calls are free through Google Voice, while international calls have a fee.
You can also choose to receive your incoming calls on your phone using Google Voice too. This means scrolling down and clicking on the Call Forwarding option. Here, you'll see a list of all the devices currently registered with Voice on your account.
Other ways to customize your Google Voice experience include:
- Changing your voicemail greeting: Click on the Voicemail Greeting option to choose the voicemail service you want. You can use the general "Google" response, or a slightly more personalized solution depending on the kind of service you want to give. There's also the option to record your own calls.
- Choose how you receive notifications: If you miss a call, or get a message, Google Voice will notify you. However, you can choose what kind of notifications you get. For instance, options include toggling your notifications on and off, displaying notifications in your status bar, or selecting a specific ringtone for your notifications.
- Provision numbers instantly: Google Voice allows administrators to provision professional numbers to employees across the globe instantly, without using a multitude of providers. When you give your users permission, they can also set up and edit their service according to their needs.
The Benefits of Google Voice
According to Google, Voice was built to complete the UC tools available through the G Suite. Combined with Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, Google hopes to provide companies with a complete unified communication strategy. You can even upgrade your communication network further by adding in specialized hardware and the Google Jamboard.
Google Voice delivers the same user-friendly experience you'd expect from any G Suite app, which means that you can make voice conversations a natural part of your daily workflow. Once you've purchased the licenses required to add Voice into your system, your employees will be able to take work calls on any device, ranging from laptops to smartphones.
With AI security measures built-in, you can also automatically reduce your risk of receiving spam calls. What's more, there are text-to-speech solutions, and automatic transcription features available too. Ultimately, Google Voice gives you everything you need to not only facilitate voice calls but improve the information that you can collect from those conversations also.
Can You Benefit from Google Voice?
Google Voice has finally arrived as a solution for all G Suite users, no matter their size or background. Although it may not be the biggest voice app on the market today, Google is planning on pulling out all of the stops to deliver the best possible unified communication stack for its customers.
With enterprise-level control options for administrators, and the ability to port and provision numbers quickly and easily, Google Voice has the power to offer a fantastic opportunity for today's cloud-focused companies. With Voice, you'll be able to access voice conversations combined with advanced functionality like company directory sync and intelligent routing.
Beyond giving you an instant solution for cloud calling, Google Voice also makes it easier for companies to access all of the tools they need for communication and collaboration within the same G Suite environment. In a blog post about the release, the company announced that G Suite would soon be rolling out add-ons that plug into Calendar, Gmail and other services.
If you're ready to find out what Google Voice can do for your UC solution, contact Coolhead Tech today, we'll guide you through your strategy for G Suite and the Google Cloud Platform.