If you ever run into the situation where you need a phone number that will act primarily as an answering machine, Google Voice may be your solution. With a Google Voice account you can have any incoming calls automatically go to voice mail and then be notified (via email) of the new message.  The process is completely free and only requires a “real” phone number during setup.  Don’t worry, the real phone number used during setup won’t be displayed or accessible to those calling your new Google Voice answering machine.

Here are the steps to get started.

1) Create a new Google account.  Each Google account already has the option to use Google Voice, however we recommend using a new account that won’t cause problems later.  If you’re not a current Google Voice user you may find that you like the product and want to get a permanent number assigned to your daily Google account.  Skip to step 4 if you already have a Google account you want to use otherwise visit http://accounts.google.com and click on “Sign Up” in the upper right hand corner.

2) You will need to enter a username, password, and some personal information.  A request for your mobile phone number and curent email address are on the sign up form.  While Google may indicate those items are needed you can continue with the account sign up by leaving those both blank.

3) Check “next step” on the Create your profile page and your account is all setup.  You will actually be logged into your new account at this point.

4) Head over to https://voice.google.com.  If you are continuing from steps 1-3 you should already be logged in.  If not log in at this point.

5) You should be presented with the new account wizard.  Select “I want a new number

6) Select a desired zip code for your new voice mail number.  In the image below we entered “Tucson“.  Click on Search numbers.  

7) Select a desired phone number.  You also have the option to display more options by clicking on the “Next 5>” link at the bottom.  Google Voice numbers are slowly acquired / recycled over time and may not be available in your area.  If you really want a specific area code do not continue at this point. You can’t easily change the Google Voice number.  Wait a few days and come back to see if numbers in your desired Area Code have opened up.  We selected the top option 520-333-5421

8) You will need to enter a PIN number to protect your new account.  After you enter the pin, check the Terms and Privacy Policy and Continue.

9) Remember we said you’ll need a real phone to setup your Google Voice account?  The next step is where you’ll need to enter it.  Google Voice will call this number and provide an automated message with a verification code you’ll need to enter later in the process.  Don’t worry, no one but Google (and Law Enforcement) will be able to see this number.

10) We entered our work / desk phone as the number and clicked continue.  A verify code will be displayed along with the option to  Call me now.

11) After you receive the call and enter your activation code your account will become live.  Listen to the steps to setup your outgoing voicemail or click finish to leave a generic outgoing voicemail.  The generic message contains the phrase “Google Subscriber” so you may want to update it to something else.

12) Now your account is created you will need to set one more option.  Click on Settings from the socket drop down menu in the top right corner.

13) The first page of settings will include phones your incoming calls will be forwarded to. By default your real phone number entered during sign up will be listed.  Uncheck the landline your calls are forwarded to.

That is it.  You’re done.  When someone calls your new Google Voice number they will be automatically taken to voice mail.  The message they leave will be delivered via email to the Google account you setup in steps 1-3.  For a more automated setup, have the Google account you created automatically forward to an email address you use everyday.  Don’t forget to also check your voicemail to make sure it gives the appropriate outgoing message.

Go ahead and give us a call 520-333-5421 for a $1 off discount code on your next domain name purchase.  We left the discount code on the out going voicemail message we created during this tutorial!