When we first got our magicJack, instead of transferring our number to the magicJack phone, we transferred it to Google Voice. Now, we are able to forward any calls from our preferred phone number with Google Voice to the magicJack — or any other phone we choose. There are a number of good things this accomplishes:
- If you lose your mJ, you can still log in to GV to listen to your calls – or read them if your caller speaks clearly enough.
- If you have two or more mJ devices, you can forward to both mJ phones from GV.
- If you have skype in, you can forward to skype.
- From any of these GV-connected phones, you can punch back into the system, live, and reforward the phone call to one of the other phones with the press of a button. So if you have multiple magicJacks, they can all be different numbers, while your GV number acts to forward between them.
- You can record calls with the press of a button.
- GV Voice mail user interface is better than mJ’s.
There are some caveats to transferring your phone number to Google Voice.
- Landlines are difficult to transfer to Google Voice. Most often, your phone provider won’t allow it. However, there is a way around the problem.
- First transfer the call to an inexpensive mobile phone. We picked up an AT&T phone for $5.*
- A minimum of $10 worth of talk minutes was required to register this temporary phone with AT&T.
- Once registered, we transferred our home (AT&T land line) phone to the AT&T mobile phone. The process only took a few minutes, and the wait time was about two days.
- Once the land-line was no longer functioning, we transferred the (now) AT&T mobile number to Google Voice. That took less than a day to complete.
- The total cost for transfer was:
|cheap mobile phone||$5.00|
|land-line to mobile transfer||free|
|mobile to Google Voice transfer||$20.00|
- While the whole process cost more than simply transferring to the majicJack, the beauty of this system, as pointed out earlier, is that your preferred number is not tied to a single device.
- When you have more than one number involved and they all have their own brand of voice mail, it becomes less clear which system took the message. For instance, I’ve got GV forwarding calls not only to the mJ, but also to Skype and occasionally another cheap mobile phone. Sometimes they all ring at once. Sometimes one or the other won’t ring. Sometimes it rings once and goes to voicemail before you can pick it up. This can all be tidied by finessing which voice mail picks up first. This is our setup:
|magicJack||set to pick up at 60 seconds|
|Google Voice||no settings possible – picks up at 4 rings.|
|cordless phone on mJ||set to pick up on three rings|
|skype||set to pick up at 45 seconds|
This allows us to most likely pick up with the home phone voicemail first. If that doesn’t pick up, it goes next to GV which forwards a voice mail to both myself and my wife. If that doesn’t pick up, skype picks it up and again sends an email to both myself and my wife. Lastly, if none of the others pick up — as in a direct call to the mJ line not through GV — we still get a voice mail and an email message alerting us to its arrival. So all bases are covered with the likelihood that the main home cordless phone will get the call.
- When we’re on the home phone (magicJack) and we don’t pick up, GV is going to take the message.
- When traveling, the mJ comes with us, so all voicemail will likely be picked up by GV – our preferred backup carrier. That’s preferred due to GV’s superior voicemail interface.
- When you have a lot of phones all tied to one number, it can be disconcerting for people to hear entirely different recorded messages from what they originally thought was the same number. It’s best to make sure all the recordings have the same general rhythm and style so as not to confuse your callers. This is especially true if you’re running a business using this kind of system. You will have to make voice messages – sometimes several – for magicJack server, Google Voice, Skype and your home or business cordless phone. Make a script for each announcement type and read it out load a few times for practice before recording it. Take care to troubleshoot your system by calling each number directly to see how the answering system responds. This will also allow you to tweak ring-time responses. Do not leave your phone services with the system default voice messages.
I won’t pretend it was all a snap setting this up, but in the end, it becomes worth it for the versatility of the system. When my wife is on the mJ, new incoming calls come to my Skype. I can immediately decide whether to pick up or ignore, even if I’m on another Skype call. If neither of us can get it, GV takes a voice message. We generally don’t miss many calls. Perhaps a magicJack/Google Voice/Skype combination could work for you too.
* We did not just buy the phone to throw it away. Our old go-phone was non-folding and frankly getting raggedy, so it was a good time to buy a replacement physical mobile phone. We transferred the smart card from the old go-phone which didn’t fold to the new go-phone which does. Now the phone can sit in a pocket without making pocket calls. If you have no need for the extra mobile phone, please be sure to give it to some non-profit organization that can make use of it.