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Using Google Voice while traveling.

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,660
reviews: 69
Using Google Voice while traveling.

Something that I have been playing with recently is Google Voice. It doesn't necessarily save you money but it can make life a little easier.

Here's how it works - you sign up with Google Voice - it's free. You choose a phone number (a different number from your regular number). You assign regular phone numbers to that number - so, for example, I put my office phone, my home phone and my cell phone on it. When someone calls that number, it rings all the phones, so no matter where I am, they get in touch with me without having to call around. I addition, I can program it so that it only rings certain numbers on certain days of the week or times of day (no point ringing my work desk number when I know I'm not going to be at work!).

I haven't done this last part yet, but when I get a unlocked phone for travel and buy a local SIM card, there's no reason why I shouldn't be able to put that number into Google Voice and then folks won't have to remember a new number, they can call me at the usual Google Voice number. I can turn off phones that have roaming charges, too.

The service has texting/SMS and voice mail.

So far I have been very impressed with this. Has anyone else had any experience using this, good or bad?

20 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel
posts: 16,037
reviews: 39
1. Re: Using Google Voice while traveling.

I have heard a few of my fellow colleagues chatting about it, but I haven't used it myself.

But now that you have explained it step by step, it sounds really interesting and the thought of not having so many different numbers for friends, family and associates to remember has great appeal. It's like a free divert service but with multiple diverts at once. Quite brilliant really. Does it also mean the people who call the local number only get charged local rates? I'd be fascinated to hear more feedback on this.

Great thread TBNY.

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,660
reviews: 69
2. Re: Using Google Voice while traveling.

I am pretty much a novice, so am hoping that others have used it more - I've been using it for a few months and it works almost too well - too many folks can get hold of me! LOL

The only issue that I have had so far was when I was in the Cayman Islands and someone from Cayman called me - the delay was distracting. other than that it's been great.

I note that you're from Oz, KVE - I'm really not sure what countries it will work - I suspect that it is quite US-centric.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel
posts: 16,037
reviews: 39
3. Re: Using Google Voice while traveling.

"it works almost too well - too many folks can get hold of me! LOL"

Haha too funny, yeah after a while you'll have no place to hide and eventually disconnect it from time to time.

Yes, we are the 'remote' ones and as such, we are used to new releases being significantly delayed. Having said that, new movies and new products such as iPhones etc have improved over the recent years. We are just horribly delayed with tv shows...

Still, I'm greatly looking forward to hearing a few feedbacks, as I'm pretty keen to try it.

Geneva, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Geneva, Liechtenstein, Air Travel
posts: 3,431
reviews: 301
4. Re: Using Google Voice while traveling.

I have that privacy issue with Google. Not sure it makes sense, but I don't feel confident with the idea anything could go through them...

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel
posts: 16,037
reviews: 39
5. Re: Using Google Voice while traveling.

Interesting point Swissdiver, I wonder if they are governed by regulations similar to telcos?

TBNY, any idea?

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,660
reviews: 69
6. Re: Using Google Voice while traveling.

Google used to be the "alternative" to so many things, like Amazon used to be with books, now they're the Big Monster.

Most of what I have heard has been just fear - no real proof of anything. The question is that if you are travelling to far-flung places, how do you know that the local telco aren't up to no good?

Most of Google's revenue comes from ads - which means that they need to sell demographic data in order to get people to buy the ads. I don't think that they make any secret of that. From what I know, all the info they sell is "anonymised".

I think there are similar issues with Apple, and Microsoft and yet folks use hotmail and the Apple for mail and phone calls - are they regulated like the telcos?

If, as a business traveller, you are talking about sensitive things that you don't want your competitors to know, then really you need to be using a corporate VPN-based solution that doesn't involve any outside servers that are dealing with unencrypted data. I would suggest that even using your phone to discuss those are an issue.

I think that Google Voice would be a way for folks ot get in touch with you, wherever you are - if you have something sensitive to discuss, then I would be calling them back on a more "secure line", however your company defines that.

Does that makes sense?

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel
posts: 16,037
reviews: 39
7. Re: Using Google Voice while traveling.

"Most of what I have heard has been just fear - no real proof of anything. The question is that if you are travelling to far-flung places, how do you know that the local telco aren't up to no good?"

So true, you can't really be sure in either direction. And often these fears are unfounded.

Yeah it makes perfect sense, and I agree, the purpose of Google Voice is probably not targeting corporate use, but aimed squarely - at present anyways - for private/social use.

Good post TBNY, helps me understand.

Edited: 6:02 pm, April 12, 2013
Austin, Texas
posts: 1
reviews: 1
8. Re: Using Google Voice while traveling.

TravellingBritNY, when you get a local number when traveling, and someone calls your Google voice number (which I assume is a US number), are you charged international rates for the call, or domestic (US) rates?

Geneva, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Geneva, Liechtenstein, Air Travel
posts: 3,431
reviews: 301
9. Re: Using Google Voice while traveling.

Funny to read this discussion that took place before Mr. Snowden's latest revelations regarding the NSA activities... So I was writing I had "privacy issue with Google"... Well I still do!

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,660
reviews: 69
10. Re: Using Google Voice while traveling.

Graham, the person calling you gets charged the rate to call that number, so if they are calling a local number, that is what they will get charged.

What I'm not sure about is how much (if anything) the owner of the Google Voice number gets charged.

I tend to use it more as an "I'll call you back in a few" tool - then I get to a WiFi hotspot and call them from Skype.

Swissdiver - I think that if anything, this latest news should emphasize that you're not private any time you make a phone call, since the carriers are all providing the meta-data to the US Government anyway, whether it's Google, Verizon, AT&T or whatever.

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