Choosing Your Google Voice Phone Number
After finishing the preliminary registration steps, you will be prompted as to whether you want to continue the setup using your existing mobile phone or by selecting a new phone number.
Picking your existing number entitles you to these benefits:
- Voice mail
- Voice mail transcriptions
- Custom voice mail greetings for different callers
- International calls at reportedly lower priced rates
- Mobile device access
Choosing a new Google number or porting your mobile number as your Google number gives you all the above features plus these extras:
- Call forwarding to as many as six other phones in the United States
- Call recording
- Free SMS text messaging from the account
ListeninTM which enables you to listen live to the voice messages to decide whether to pick up
- Conference calling
- Call Blocking
Note: Sprint customers can keep their Sprint number and integrate it with Google Voice to get all the features available, except for the voicemail. But you can even pick up this feature if you get a Google number and display it when making calls and sending texts from a Sprint handset.
To help you choose your number, Google prompts you to enter either your zip code or a word or phrase (great for businesses). If you choose the zip code your first three numbers will match your local exchange. I used my area code and scrolled through the numbers until I found a sequence that I could easily remember.
The bottom line is that if you are simply looking for a voice mail service that will transcribe and archive your messages then adding Google Voice to an existing line makes the most sense. However, if you want the convenience of having one number to ring all your phones and a "virtual" assistant to monitor, filter, and direct your calls then you should go for a new Google phone number with all the bells and whistles.