Google Voice

Can I use Google Voice with my old phones?

Old phone

Episode 1557

Paul from San Diego, CA

Paul is getting ready to cut the cable on his telephone service and he's moved his number to Google Voice. But how can he get his phones to work with Google voice? Leo says that phone numbers are portable, and as such, his home phone number can be ported to Google Voice. And then he can have his mobile phone ring when his number gets called. Up to 5 different phones can do that.

Is Android secure?

Android

Episode 1550

Gary from Buffalo, NY

Gary is about to get an Android phone and is concerned about security. Leo says that mobile phones have enhanced security with apps sandboxed from one another, and as such, are extremely secure. Android also has a mobile kill switch for apps, so if a bad app is installed, Google can kill it. So he doesn't really need an antivirus app for his smartphone. He should just make sure to only install apps from reputable sources.

How can I prevent Google from knowing everything about me?

Google

Episode 1541

Derek from Costa Mesa, CA

Derek has to create a Google account, but he wants to prevent Google from having his information. He tried to use an app to mask his phone, but it won't work. Can he use a burner phone? Leo says that he'll have to jump through a lot of hoops to prevent it, but it can be done. A burner phone will work. Then he can create a Google Voice number to use with that. Or he can just put the burner into his car for emergencies. But every time he searches, Google will know what he searched for, even when he's using a private window. The reality is, his phone carrier and ISP will know everything.

Why can't I port my phone number to Google Voice?

Google Voice

Episode 1472

Tom from South Carolina

Tom got rid of his landline in favor of a TracFone. Now he wants to use Google Voice and port his number over, but it won't work. Leo says Google voice can't port a landline, and that's what it originally was. It's better to let Google Voice generate a phone number for him and then have Google Voice forward the calls to his TracFone number. It will continue to work, and he'll avoid the hassle.

How can I get visual voicemail?

Google Voice

Episode 1471

Cynthia from Hemet, CA

Cynthia has an iPhone and loves the visual voicemail feature, but her deaf friend doesn't have it and could use it. Leo says she should check with her carrier and see if they offer visual voicemail as an extra charge. The other option is to sign her up for Google Voice. It's free and it will give her transcriptions of voicemails. It won't be perfect, but it will be close enough to get the point.

How can I make Google Voice my default text messaging app?

Google Hangouts

Episode 1445

Nathan from Grand Rapids, MI

Nathan made "the switch" from the iPhone to the Google Pixel 2. He couldn't be happier. Leo says it's a great phone. Nathan ported his number to Google Voice, and it works great on his old number. But can he make Google Voice the default messaging app? Leo says no. He can make Google Hangouts his default messenger, and it'll show up in Google Voice. It'll even work on iOS.

Why am I missing text messages in Google Voice?

Google Hangouts

Episode 1444

Phil from Concord, CA

Phil is having issues with Google Voice, missing text messages, and voicemails. Leo says that Google has let Voice fall in quality since it bought it and may be moving away from it as a viable service. Even Hangouts isn't what it used to be. Leo used it when it was originally called Grand Central and it was great. But over the last year or so, it's really gotten hit or miss. Nowadays, Leo just uses it as a call forwarding service. But it may not be Google's fault. It may also be phone carriers who are engaging in anti-competitive behavior.