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Google Voice Now Works WIth Existing Mobile Numbers 164

Posted by timothy
from the me-talk-garbly-one-day dept. was one of several readers to note that Google Voice users can now utilize their existing mobile phone number for collecting voice messages instead of applying for a Google Voice number. From the post at the Google Voice blog: "Up until now, if you wanted to use Google Voice, you needed to choose a new number. Taking calls through your Google number allows us to offer features like call recording, call screening and getting text messages via email." Not all features (like conference calling) are available to those bringing their own number, but voice messages by email is my favorite feature.
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Google Voice Now Works WIth Existing Mobile Numbers

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  • by butabozuhi (1036396) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @01:15PM (#29885819)
    Available in the US? Still waiting for a number in a Hawaii area code...
  • Missing Features (Score:5, Informative)

    by dijjnn (227302) <bwthomas AT cs DOT uchicago DOT edu> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @01:32PM (#29886077)

    From TFA:

    More specifically, if you sign up for Google Voice with your existing number, you'll get:

            * Online, searchable voicemail
            * Free automated voicemail transcription
            * Custom voicemail greetings for different callers
            * Email and SMS notifications
            * Low-priced international calling

    If you decide to also get a new Google number, you'll get all of the above PLUS:

            * One number that reaches you on all your phones
            * SMS via email
            * Call screening
            * Listen In
            * Call recording
            * Conference calling
            * Call blocking

    So, you don't get all the features if you port in an existing number. How ... lame. Completely killed my interest in this most recent development.

  • Re:Been using it... (Score:5, Informative)

    by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @01:44PM (#29886219) Journal

    $10 to change numbers? By any standard I've ever seen, that's a steal.

    Seriously, look into doing the same with a local telephone service sometime. Some years back, the local telco issued me a home phone number that had previously been owned by a company that went Chapter 7. After a little under 2 weeks of constant phone calls at all hours of day and night (who makes collection calls at 3AM? Seriously?), I called the telco and asked. By the time I stopped talking to the rep and said "no, thanks" we were up somewhere north of $175 in fees, surcharges, and "because we're the goddamned phone company and we'll tack this little sucker on too and you'll bend over and like it, biyotch" charges. For a phone number that THEY had chosen and was in my possession for less than 2 weeks.

    I picked a number not in my area back when Google Voice was GrandCentral and in beta, because no numbers were available here in the Hinterlands. I gladly paid $10 when a number became available with my correct area code, and if I could port my old Vonage number over I'd happily fork over another $10 and thank them. Given that I can use my free Gizmo line with an old Linksys PAP I have hanging around as my primary phone line now, I figure Google is saving me about $20 a month from my old 500-minute Vonage line, and loading me up with awesome features Vonage never dreamed of to boot. If I have to send then $10 every now and again, I'm still seriously ahead.

    And, yeah, I've run into the "Voice Misrecognition Follies" with Google voice. Fortunately, none of the calls have been urgent, and I can tell that "Hi, versus Doctor Smith and your appointment is tomato at flower dirty" is good enough to save me the time of retrieving and listening to the audio, and make me laugh at the same time. And I can always listen to the original if they've completely messed it up. I've also had "Visual Voicemail" from Vonage and several other transcription services I've tried, and "guess what? It ain't that pretty at all." None of them do it any better. The whole technology is not ready for prime time, but it's good enough for me every time so far, and at least Google does it for free. Vonage charges a quarter per message.

    I suppose if I was a pharmacist taking prescriptions, I wouldn't want to have it translate "Vicodin" when the doctor said "Viagara" or something, but for the kinds of calls I'm likely to get, the text has always allowed me to get the gist of what was being said (and I can always click a button on my Blackberry or on a website to listen to the original audio, but I've never had to).

  • Re:Missing Features (Score:2, Informative)

    by tjb627 (1443659) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @01:44PM (#29886221)
    All this is doing is forwarding your phone call to Google's voicemail instead of your own. This is nothing new, I've been doing this for weeks.
  • Re:Missing Features (Score:2, Informative)

    by herksc (1447137) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @01:46PM (#29886237)
    Actually, there is no "port" involved here, really. This is essentially just setting up your carrier to forward calls on no-answer/busy to your google voicemail.
  • No new subscribers (Score:3, Informative)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:05PM (#29886521)

    The news sounds exciting, but from everything I'm gathering anybody who's not already using Google Voice can't signup at the moment. The site says it's only available to Grand Central users, and that doesn't appear to be open for signup right now either.

    As someone who's still using the ancient call the system and keep pressing next to skip messages I want to keep system, I'd happily switch over to this (hell I'd even pay a bit for it - between Gmail, Reader, Picasa, Google Apps, and this, I'd certainly be willing to pay for my Google account - not more than $10-ish per month, but still).

  • by dillpick6 (699618) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:11PM (#29886607) Journal
    I can confirm that Sprint is still charging (at least in the New England area).

    A friend turned it on for his phone and sent a test message, successfully made it through, and was transcribed to his email. We did notice that there are an extra few rings before VM picks up because Sprint is forwarding on to the new number.

    After a while, the charges did show up in his account on sprints website at 20 cents a pop.

    Hope this helps!
  • Re:Missing Features (Score:3, Informative)

    by SoCalChris (573049) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:12PM (#29886615) Journal

    There's really no point to this new option -- it's just a stripped down 'lite' version of the existing service aimed at drawing in people who were scared off by the "you'll have to change your phone number" nonsense. There's absolutely no reason to choose this option when you sign up. If all you want are the voicemail features, sign up for a "full" account (with a new number), then add your existing phone and switch on voicemail handling. That's it.

    It would be stupid to sign up for the "lite" version of this instead of the full version. But being able to forward my existing cell phone # to use google voice for voicemail is huge to me. I no longer have to wade through Verizon's crappy voicemail system (Which has no way of deleting all new messages - I get a ton of spam messages).

    Actually, this new option is even worse: once you set it up, you can't go back to your carrier's voicemail system. You're stuck with Google's whether you like it or not.

    Maybe it's not enabled for all carriers, but I've got an option on my settings page to revert back to using Verizon's voicemail if I like.

  • Re:Missing Features (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nerdposeur (910128) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:32PM (#29886883) Journal

    So, you don't get all the features if you port in an existing number. How ... lame. Completely killed my interest in this most recent development.

    You're missing something. I already have a GV account. If you call my special GV number, I get the full feature list. Now I get that, PLUS I can click to add the "Lite" version to my actual cell number.

    That means that if you call my cell directly, I can still send you to GV voicemail, with the "Lite" feature set.

    As they say:

    If you already have a Google number, this new feature should also help with the transition to your new number, as you can now forward unanswered calls to your mobile phone to your Google Voice account. This way, people who still call your old number will reach the same voicemail as people who call your Google Voice number. If you already use Google Voice, you can add Google voicemail to any mobile phone you've linked to your account.

  • Re:Missing Features (Score:3, Informative)

    by metaomni (667105) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:40PM (#29887011)
    "Actually, this new option is even worse: once you set it up, you can't go back to your carrier's voicemail system. You're stuck with Google's whether you like it or not."

    Umm, you can revert your forwarding back to your carrier's voicemail. They'll even tell you how.

  • Re:Missing Features (Score:1, Informative)

    by tonycheese (921278) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @02:55PM (#29887265)

    As others have said, I don't know why you're convinced that Google won't let you change back to our old voicemail system, how would you even know if you didn't have it? I signed up for it, and I see an option to disable at any time.
    I'm happy about the new option, by existing descriptions of Google Voice I didn't know before that I had the option to keep my old number and ONLY forward my voicemail. Plenty of people will be convinced to switch by the newer service allowing us to keep the same number.

    Also, your post is just so... inflammatory. Your word choice seems so angry and negative as if they were pushing a giant turd down our throats. It's really not that bad... if you don't want to use the new service just leave it alone, plenty of people like it!

  • by caseih (160668) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @03:04PM (#29887405)

    Slashdot ate the code. It's *002*gvnumber#

    See []. Non-gsm providers have their own codes too that you can find with google.

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