Oh, the phones you can phone
As long as you have a tablet, computer, or even a retired smartphone connected to the internet, aka the cloud, you can make calls to any 10-digit domestic phone number (free), or even an international number (fee), from your device.
We'll concentrate on the service "Google Voice" (GV) and their app. There are other free and paid services too. For example, you've been able to get a 10-digit number and buy minutes for domestic/international calls through "Skype" from Microsoft for over a decade.
Whether you have an Apple tablet (iPad) or a non-Apple tablet from the likes of Samsung or Lenovo (Galaxy Tab or Tab respectively), the "App Store" and "Play Store" have the same GV app. If you want a refresher, please consult my column at wbvobserver.com.
Technology moves fast, so the looks and prompts may change but overall expectations for GV should remain similar. As of this writing, domestic calls from your GV number are free and you can buy time for making international calls at a very good rate for many countries. Three cents or nine cents a minute to call a Japanese landline or mobile phone respectively is very cheap in my opinion.
Before you start, you'll need a Google account and a phone number for one-time verification and call forwarding setup. The goal here is to assign a new U.S. domestic 10-digit phone number to your Google Account that can be used via GV app or GV website on any device you own (tablet, computer, or smartphone). If you have the GV app installed on your active smartphone, it's like having a second line!
Tip: If you already use an email address that ends in "@gmail.com," that is also your Google Account identification. If your email address ends with something else, you can make it your Google Account by going through a simple process on their website or alternatively apply for a free Gmail address at gmail.com.
You need to first configure the GV app after installing it from the aforementioned store by supplying your Google Account. As you proceed through the configuration screens, you'll reach a prompt to "Select a Google Voice number" for your Google Account. After typing in the search criteria, such as "440" or "216," hitting the word "Search" will present a list of numbers to select from as your new GV phone number for your Google Account.
In the final steps, you'll be asked to provide your current phone number to receive an one-time verification code via text (optionally you can elect the voice call option if you can't receive text). Typing in the received code in the next screen will also confirm that calls to your new GV number will "ring," aka forward to, the number you gave for verification. Tip: Google calls this "linking" and you'll be able to delete the call forwarding, or add/modify the numbers to forward calls to in the "Settings" menu of GV anytime.
Strategist and technologist with over 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.
As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation.