How To Make And Receive Phone Calls On Your Desktop With Google Voice

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by Bryan McDonald on November 3, 2010

Google Voice provides you with a single phone number that you can give out to friends, family, and colleagues.  That one number can ring all of your various phone lines (home phone, cell phone, work phone) at the same time.  This allows your to take incoming calls on whichever device is most convenient to you.

Now, your Gmail inbox is an additional line.

Dialing a phone number in Gmail works just like a normal phone. Just click “Call phone” at the top of your chat list and dial a number or enter a contact’s name.

Click HERE if you can not view the embedded video above.

What You Will Need

1. Google Voice account: Google Voice is a free service available for everyone in the U.S. and Canada. All you need to use it is your Google account.  You can sign up for a free account on the Google Voice homepage (if you haven’t already).

2. Audio tools for computer calls: You can make and take phone calls using your laptop’s microphone and speakers.  If you are going to be using the service regularly, you might want to buy a decent headset with a microphone.

How to make calls from your desktop using Google Voice

1. Install the desktop Voice and Video Chat plugin. Download it here:


You will be asked to restart your browser in order to use it.

2. Add your Gmail inbox as one of your Google Voice phone lines. This tells Google Voice that you want the service to ring Gmail when you get an incoming phone call, in addition to ringing all your other phone numbers.

In Google Voice ==> Select settings ==> Select Voice Setting ==> Select the Phones tab


Then select “Google Chat”


That is it! Now you are ready to make and receive phone calls in Gmail.  You do have to have Gmail open in order to make and receive calls.

How to answer a phone call in Gmail.

A small pop-up will appear on top of your emails when someone calls your GV number.  You can answer, screen, or ignore the call.


How to make an outbound call from Gmail.

To place an outbound call, click on the “Call Phone” contact in the list of your chat contacts.  A dial pad will open allowing you to dial the phone number.


Why would you want to use GV on your desktop?

You can save your cell phone minutes. You can then make free calls to any U.S. or Canadian phone number directly from Gmail.

You can still make and receive phone calls if you have bad cell reception in your home or office as long as you have a WiFi signal.

You can transfer your call from Gmail to your cell phone.  If you’re on Google Voice and take a call from within Gmail, you can switch a call over to your mobile phone and continue it on the go without having to drop the call and reconnect.

Bottom Line

Earlier today I tested the Google Voice Gmail feature.  I placed several outbound phone calls and received a few inbound calls in Gmail.  The calls sounded great, even on my laptop.  The calls did sound better when I used a dedicated microphone.  The only catch is that you have to have Gmail open on your computer in order to make and receive calls.   For me, this is a great way to answer calls if I am working on my computer.

Have you used Google Voice in Gmail?  How has the sound quality been for you?

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Tom Horn November 4, 2010 at 10:25 am

Bryan, thanks for keeping us informed on these great FREE resources. When you own your own business things like this help control costs. I know a business phone bill can be one of the largest expenses, but with Google Voice that can be lowered.

Ryan Lundquist November 4, 2010 at 11:07 am

This is tweet worthy. A tweet shall come soon, my friend. Nice job.

Bryan McDonald November 4, 2010 at 1:11 pm

No problem Tom! Anything small business owners can do to save a little money really helps.

Bryan McDonald November 4, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I appreciate it Ryan!

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