Google Voice and Talkatone App

GoogleVoice-LogoWe got rid of our land line and home phone number over 5 years ago. We’ve never looked back as it was a monthly bill we didn’t need. Our decision was based partly on the fact that we had 3 teenagers in high school who needed cell phones more than we needed a land line. I’ll save my editorial on cell phones, Sprint, and our service for another day.

I’ve been using Google Voice for almost two years. It works well for me since the bulk of my days in my home office are spent on the computer and on the phone with coaching calls during business hours. I dial from my computer and it saves me from using my prime time cell phone minutes. One feature that I really like is that I have my Google Voice number set to forward to my cell phone and it “translates” voicemail into text messages and email – the translations can be pretty entertaining. You can also record a separate voicemail greeting with your Google Voice number. It has some great features.

The few difficulties I’ve encountered are really no different than cell phone problems. Sometimes there is a bad connection which can also be dependent upon our internet connection and not just Google’s service. My Mac laptop has some cooling fans with their own personalities which can rudely interfere with the audio connection.

I’ve been working on several big projects that have required literally hours on the phone. On Friday, Sprint sent me a friendly text that I was almost out of minutes. This motivated me to do a little weekend research to see if I could use Google Voice on my smartphone without the minutes counting on my cell phone plan. Surely someone had already invented this and I just needed to learn how to use it!

I read about several different apps, their functionality and consumer reviews. You can make voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls with your smartphone and some tablets.

Talkatone App

Talkatone app icon Hello Talkatone! They had me intrigued from the first sentence on their website…

“Millions of people use Talkatone to call and text over WiFi or a data connection without using cell minutes.”

Talkatone does exactly what I need. I’m using the free version and so far, so good. We did laugh at the potential of taking calls on my iPad. Don’t worry, I use the earbuds with the built-in microphone.

I’m still testing the different features and I’m experimenting with another app I bought for $2.99 called GV Connect. Some people say it has a nicer interface than Talkatone and they can work together – I’m not convinced yet.

I always try to find apps that are for both iOS and Android as we are a house divided with our technology choices. Cross platform compatibility is important for my family. It also helps me recommend things to my clients since I’ve heard people are still using Windows computers. 😉

Have you tried Google Voice or any other phone apps? I’d love to hear from you – leave a comment below.

About Sherra Humphreys

Sherra's comprehensive background in business coaching, training and website design means you get real life business experience. Helping women succeed in small business is what she's passionate about.

Comments

  1. Ah…we have been asking ourselves the same questions. We decided to keep the landline thinking the teenagers would give that number out and keep their cell numbers close to the vest, but alas, they haven’t and the only calls we get on the home phone are solicitors. (Yes, we registered with the national Do Not Call list, and yet every day there’s another call.) You’re endorsement is motivating! I may cut the cord…literally…and get the app for that!

    • Try it out while you still have your landline! My kids have always been really good at not using daytime cell minutes other than cell phone to cell phone since they got phones. It’s the unlimited texting they really want. They each have to pay a small monthly payment to us when they turn 18 — just want them to get in a routine of a few regular monthly bills. We’re mean like that. 🙂

  2. I have been using Google Voice since 2009 and never really took full advantage of it until last year. I would use the GV number to hand out to people I wanted to screen or use it on websites that required a phone number. Keeping my cell phone number to give to close friends, family, and work contacts. I never tied my GV to my smartphone by using apps or having it ring to my phone. I would simply check my GV when I got an email notification.

    Last year I started to look at my cell phone bill closely for a couple months and would get irritated by the amount of minutes that would rollover and then eventually roll off since I was never using them. I have always been a text, email, IM, Skype, Facebook message kind of guy and rarely used my minutes. I thought about how I am always within reach of wifi either at home or the places that I frequent the most. So, I started researching ways to use my smartphone without a carrier and I found Talkatone. I have been using Talkatone and Google Voice together for just about a year now and have never looked back. I’m rarely without a wifi connection and the times that I am without a signal is kind of nice…it has allowed me to reconnect with the art of casual conversation. Using the two services has also allowed me to save $75 a month (difference between cutting the cell phone bill and home internet bill).

    I pay for the Premium service on Talkatone because I can spend 6-7 hours at a time on a conference call and I was notorious for tapping the ad on accident and then completely hanging up my conference call trying to get back to the phone’s interface. I also think that the quality of the call is much better with the Premium service. The two times I have had a problem with Talkatone the support team was on it and had it fixed within a matter of a couple hours at most. Truly the best app I have ever downloaded and the best decision I have ever made with cutting out my cell phone carrier.

    • I used Talkatone yesterday and my cell phone yesterday and the call dropped 3x. Sounds like I need to look at the Premium service. Thanks for the great tips!