It’s no secret that Google Voice has been having some problems since its inception. Many users are dissatisfied and looking for options to replace the inconsistent service, whether they feel they’ve outgrown the service, or they are dissatisfied with the sub-par call quality and feature set.
If you’d like to move on from Google Voice, but you don’t want to lose the features that work well, then this guide is for you. Read on to find out how to move your old number over from Voice to a new provider, and how to replace Voice’s most popular features with other comparable services.
Porting Your Number Away from Voice
Porting your number away from Google Voice is a pretty simple endeavor. Voice is half VoIP service and half “number virtualization service” so the whole thing is fairly straightforward.
Step One: Unlock Your Voice Number for Transfer
The first step to porting away from Google Voice is to unlock your Voice Number for transfer. To do this, first go here to unlock your Voice number. Follow the instructions there and you should be able to transfer your Voice number to your new carrier.
Important Note: Wait at least a day for your number to be unlocked before contacting your carrier to ensure everything is good to go. Otherwise you may end up making multiple calls/visits to your new VoIP carrier to make sure everything is ready.
Step Two: Contact Your New Carrier
After you’ve unlocked your number, simply contact your new carrier and tell them you want to port over your VoIP number. They will ask you for some account details, and your Google Account number, which is the same as your Voice Number. After you provide this information, you shouldn’t have to wait long for your number to be ported over (about a day). You can now start using your new VoIP service!
What About All My Old Features?
One of the things that makes the decline of Google Voice so tragic is the fact that the features that do work are really very good, and handy to have available (especially in a business setting).
So what do you do?
Well, fortunately there are several solutions out there that replicate all the features you know and love from Google Voice and make switching away from Voice a much easier, and less daunting prospect.
Text from Desktop after Voice
One of Voice’s most beloved features was the ability to send text messages from your desktop. This allowed for seamless SMS integration, without ever pulling out your phone. Now, there are a few other options available.
MightyText is probably the most popular desktop texting app available. You simply sign in and you’ll receive intuitive push notifications right on your desktop whenever you get a text. This makes for a great alternative to Hangouts for those who are looking to ditch the Google ecosystem or just want the text-from-desktop functionality. With millions of downloads, MightyText is a worthy successor to the desktop texting offered by Voice and Hangouts.
Slack helps you say goodbye to email while keeping all of your team’s’ communications and files in one place, wherever you go. You can group conversations, share files and search while staying in sync across multiple platforms. It also has dozens of integrations with third party applications and is a secure way to communicate. Using Channels or Direct Messages you can connect with groups in your organization or individuals. The App runs on your computer as well as your smartphone so you can stay connected with your members anytime, anywhere.
Companies, big and small, are moving to this new tool for communication. Users like it because you can setup multiple teams and many people say it is their favorite messaging app.
Visual Voicemail after Voice
One of the other much sought after features of Voice is a pretty standard feature when it comes to modern VoIP systems: Visual Voicemail. Let’s face it, checking your voicemail is a nightmare. It takes way too long, it’s almost never worth it except to clear the notification from the top of your phone, and of course the genuinely important things like messages from clients and customers can easily get lost in the shuffle.
At hosted VoIP provider Press8.com, all customers get free voicemail to text transcription. Voicemails are sent to your email address transcribed with the attached voicemail to listen to. This is a new trend that many people are using as it makes checking voicemails much faster & much easier.
YouMail is a visual voicemail service that offers many of the same features as the Voice suite, and makes checking voicemail a breeze. You’ll get a (mostly) accurate transcription of the voicemail that you can quickly peruse and save, delete, or make note of as necessary. This takes the burden off you (or whoever is answering your Voicemail) and greatly streamlines the process, while making sure nothing important gets overlooked.
Signing Up for Hosted VoIP
With a hosted PBX VoIP system, you still get to outsource your calling system, but you get the confidence and peace of mind that comes with knowing you have someone on call to fix problems, deal with outages, and answer service requests. You also have much more freedom, flexibility, and control than you will ever get out of Google Voice.