Google Voice

Can the Amazon Echo make phone calls?

Episode 1418

Cindy from California
Amazon Echo

Cindy wants to know if the Echo can work as an intercom all around the house. Leo says it can, but the Echo Dot requires external speakers, while the Echo has its own speaker. There's also the Echo Show, which also has video. She heard that it can make phone calls. Leo says it doesn't make phone calls, but it can make Echo to Echo calls to anyone in her network. If she wants to make phone calls, then Google Home is the way to go. It uses Google Voice.

Can I use WhatsApp without a phone?

Episode 1413

Jane from Oregon
WhatsApp

Jane wants to know if it's WhatApp or WhatsApp. Leo says there's an "S," so it's WhatsApp. A clever way of saying "what's up?"

Jane is thinking of getting her first smart phone so she can use WhatsApp to make phone calls. Leo says that WhatsApp identifies users by their phone numbers, not their names. So when people ask to use WhatsApp to make a call, that means they want not only their phone number, but also their contact list. Facebook is doing that to cross reference contacts with Facebook contacts, but you can opt out of it when you sign up.

How does Google Voice work?

Episode 1364

Gary from San Diego, CA
Google Voice

Gary wants to know about Google Voice with the Pixel phone. Leo says that Google Voice started as GrandCentral, which he used to use for his office. Then Google bought it and created a central phone hub for everyone. It gives you a new universal number and then rings different phones until it finds you. It also has custom voicemail boxes for people in your contact list, strangers, close friends, and unknown. It also sends you a text message with the voicemail. And it's free to use.

Should I use Google Voice on my iPhone for texting?

Episode 1363

David from Little Rock, AR
Google Voice

David is an iPhone user and he wants to start using Google Voice, but he doesn't know if it's better than trying Allo or the other messenger programs. Leo says that iPhone users should just stick with iMessage. All SMS messages will go to iMessage anyway, because Apple doesn't let users change the default messenger app. iMessages will be color coded blue, while regular SMS messages will be color coded green.

How can I forward text messages from India to the US?

Arvin from Austin, TX

Episode 1342

Arvin wants to know how he can get the phone he bought in India to work in the United States for text messaging. Leo says he would need to get the number forwarded to an American carrier, or find a service that will forward text messages to an American number. Google Voice may work, if it's available in India. Anveo is another that Leo uses. He could buy a number from them, use that, and they will forward the text messages to a phone here in the US.

How can I have two phone numbers ring a single phone?

Aaron from Fresno, CA

Episode 1338

Aaron has to carry around two phones and wants to know if Google Voice will allow him to use two numbers for a single phone. Leo says he can, but there are also some phones that will allow him to use two SIMs. Google Fi is a good option. He can also use phone services like RingCentral and Grasshopper. Those are pay services, though. Skype could be a good alternative. Leo just keeps using Google Voice. It gives him a lot of options.

How can I stop getting spam calls?

John from California

Episode 1309

John got a call from someone this morning and the caller ID was showing it coming from his own number. Leo says it's really easy to spoof caller ID to lure someone to answer the phone. Leo likes to use Google Voice as his main phone number, since it will reject a call if it's not in his contact list. John can put his number on the government's Do Not Call List, but most of these are from out of the country and they aren't subject to that law.