Google Fax: How to Send & Receive Fax Using Google
Google Workspace provides a comprehensive suite of productivity tools that includes Gmail, Google Drive, Google Sheets, and Google Docs, all of which can be used to make faxing easier.
Author: Richard Haase Updated November 8, 2023
Google fax, often referred to as online faxing or digital faxing, is a modern method of sending and receiving faxes using Google's suite of services and cloud-based technology. Unlike traditional fax machines that rely on physical telephone lines and paper documents, Google fax leverages the power of the internet to transmit faxes electronically.
With the ability to store, send, and receive documents online, Google Workspace has become a go-to solution for businesses seeking an integrated approach to faxing.
What Is a Google Fax Number?
A Google fax number is a name given to an online fax number that is linked to your Gmail address, and lets you send and receive faxes through it.
Google doesn't provide fax numbers or services, but we can get one through third party online fax services. These are companies that basically let you fax over Internet using your email, without having to buy additional equipment. They use a technology known as FOIP, which lets convert incoming analog faxes into digital files and vice versa.
How to Get a Free Google Fax Number
Online fax services have been around for quite some time now. These are services that charge you an affordable fee to be able to send and receive a certain amount of pages per month. For this, they provide you a virtual fax number in charge of redirecting incoming faxes to your Gmail account.
Most of these services let you create a free account for 14 days. What’s great about this is that these accounts come with all the set of features included with the service. You basically get a basic plan for a full month, and among these features is the availability of a free Google fax number to receive fax.
At the moment of signing up you’ll be asked to enter the email address you want to use for receiving faxes, and then you’ll need to pick the number associated with the account. There are two options: a local or a toll-free number.
At the moment of creating your account, you'll need to enter your credit card information. But you don’t need to worry this works the same as any free trial, they won’t charge you any fee to your credit card unless you keep using your account after the month has passed. Just make sure you cancel it before the trial period and you won’t have any problems. Also, it is a good idea to stick with reputable online fax vendors such as eFax or Ringcentral Fax among others.
How An Online Fax Number Works
For the user, an online fax number will automatically receive faxes on a Gmail account, so they can be read electronically. But what happens in the background before that?
When someone sends you a fax, she/he will have to dial your virtual fax number. There will be no difference the person sending you the fax, but this fax number sends the transmission through a digital line to powerful fax servers. It's on these servers that the fax documents will be converted to a digital file, more specifically a PDF which can be opened on any computer or mobile device.
Once the document is converted, it is included as an attachment in an email and then sent to your Gmail account. From there you can download, read or print it as you like. This process takes only a few seconds to complete, and is 100% secure (even more than traditional faxing!).
Faxing with Your Google Voice Number
Changing your fax number and updating your contacts can be a real pain in the you-know-where, especially when you have had a fax number for years. In these cases we recommend you move your current number to a digital platform.
If you wish to fax with your Google Voice number, this is way to do it.
The number porting is done through Google fax services, taking advantage that they have already relationships with phone companies across the United States in some countries around the World.
To start you need to request the porting process to your current fax service. You may be asked to pay an additional fee to complete the process.
By porting a number you are moving it from a landline to a virtual line. This means your number will now work over an Internet connection, using what is called Fax Over Internet Protocol, or FoIP.
Now, because this number works over the Internet, it’s not just a matter of quickly changing the company handling the number. The process may take a few days to complete, until the information has been propagated across the Web.
Services know this may cause interruptions and problems when trying to reach your line, that’s why they give you a temporary fax number. This number will forward incoming faxes to a Gmail account while the propagation is completed. Once the process is finished you'll be able to fax online.
Recommended Online Fax Services
A good fax provider has to be able to easily provide a Google fax number and at the same time provide the features you need to speed up your faxing tasks. Stay away from services that promise low prices but then want to charge you hefty set-up and overage fees.
Here is the best Google fax service we can recommend to get started. It allows you to create a free account in a few steps, so you can link your Gmail account to a fax number very quickly.
eFax is the biggest fax service on the planet, offering virtual fax numbers in dozens of countries around the Globe. With flexible plans, and fully featured free trials, eFax is the perfect service for those who want a hassle-free online fax experience. It integrates easily with Google tools including Gmail, Google Drive and Docs, and their mobile fax app is the best one in the market, letting you keep in touch with your faxes from anywhere.
Getting a Google fax number with eFax is pretty easy, just select the number you want and your country, and then enter the Gmail address you want it to be associated with. After a few minutes, your line will be set up and ready to receive digital fax.
2. RingCentral Fax
RingCentral offers a complete line of virtual office products, including online fax. This is one of our the best Google fax services because it is always at the forefront in the field of email-faxing, providing advanced functions that help you send and receive faxes easily, like the ability to fax with Google products (a Gmail account, Google Drive, Google Docs), fax scheduling, and a custom mobile fax app to fax from anywhere without a fax machine.
They offer toll-free and local fax number alternatives in all the cities of USA, Canada and United Kingdom. As a plus, their customer support is top-notch. Their basic faxing plan it's good to start sending and receiving hundreds of fax pages per month.
Is Google Fax Secure?
Security to send and receive faxes is extremely important, especially if you work in fields like law, healthcare and finance, where there are strict regulations governing the sharing and faxing of sensitive information.
Organizations of all kinds still choose fax as the preferred method to share documents, even when sharing a file these days is as easy as using an instant messaging app. That’s because they value security above else. Despite all the conveniences of instant messaging, we have been proven time and time again that mass-oriented online messaging technologies are not as safe as we would want to.
When you send faxes with a machine things are relatively secure. The document travels directly to its recipient using an analog phone line service, and there is no chance that this information gets intercepted. On top of that, you get a confirmation when your fax is fully printed on the other end, unlike modern apps that have the option of hiding this information.
But what happens in the case of online faxing? If we are using the email channel, does this means that our documents are vulnerable? In this article we will take a look at these questions. You’ll learn that email faxing is actually more secure than using a fax machine.
This is what happens when you send faxes:
- You compose an email message with an attachment
- The email goes your online fax service’s fax servers, where the attachment is converted into a fax file.
- The service encrypts this information and sends it to the receiver’s fax machine.
As you can see, you are not sending the fax to another email. You send it for conversion on the service’s fax servers which act as a protective “wall” against interceptions. The document goes then through additional security measures before reaching the fax machine.
The only way other people can read a fax you send is if your email information is compromised. That’s why it is recommended you use a dedicated email for online faxing strong password and change it at least every month. Gmail lets you know at the moment of creating your account if your password meets the strength criteria.
On the other hand the online fax service gives you maximum security. With additional options designed to ensure your documents arrive safely and privately.
Security Features of Google Fax Services
Password protection. On your service’s settings area, you can add password protection for faxes arriving to your email. enter and confirm your password, and next time a fax arrives your email, it will contain PDF protection, meaning only you can read its contents. The password can be changed or turned off at any time without accessing Gmail.
Encryption. Before your fax travels from the fax servers to the receiver, they will be protected with point-to-point encryption. This type of encryption adds a cover to your data, effectively hiding it.
Automatic fax removal. You can set your faxes to be deleted from your account after they have been opened. This option can remain active for scheduled amount of time.
Unique file types. There are some fax services that have developed their own apps to send and receive faxes with encryption. They basically deliver your fax in a unique file format, that you won’t be able to read unless you use the app or program. It’s a very ingenious way of handling additional fax security, although it depends on the operating system you are using.
Access Control. Corporate online fax services let you access all your faxes from a virtual drive. This cloud storage is protected using 256-bit AES encryption.
What Are The Advantages of Digital Faxing?
For those who want to get rid of a fax machine, using an online fax company is an easy and fast solution to send and receive faxes. With an online fax number you can receive a fax straight on your computer without any type of physical installation.
What are the benefits you enjoy when you get a Google fax number? There are many ways online faxing will improve your faxing experience:
With a Google fax number you can send and receive faxes automatically, and it does this much faster than a fax machine. Instead of waiting for the document to be printed, it is forwarded as digital form to your Gmail address.
2. Acts as a Dedicated Fax Line
A Gmail fax number works just like a dedicated line. This number is used exclusively for fax transmissions and it remains active all day, every day even when your computer’s been turned off. People sending you faxes won't notice a difference between a fax service and a physical dedicated line.
3. It’s Affordable and Ready to Be Used in Minutes
An online fax number is given to you immediately at the moment of signing up for a service. Enter your details, the email address you want to receive fax online, pick your number and then start faxing right away. The virtual numbers are also more affordable and ready to be used when you need a fax delivered. You are just basically just paying for the service, the number is given to your for free as long as you have an active membership with a provider.
4. Deliver faxes digitally
A Google fax number number lets you get started with paperless fax, reducing the amount of paper waste and consumption in your office. Fax a PDF or any other type of digital documents from your chosen online fax service. There also the option to fax from Google Drive and other cloud fax providers, letting you pull documents form the cloud seamlessly.
5. It's Safe
Digital faxes are even more secure than fax machines. Not only fax providers include security measures like advanced encryption and secure transmissions, but they are also able to give you a HIPAA compliant service, which comes in handy if you are using fax for sensitive information like patient info, if you work on the healthcare industry.
6. Multiple Number Options
You have 4 types of numbers you can use to send and receive faxes: a toll-free number, a local number, a vanity number, or you can keep using your Google Voice number to fax if you want. This last option is called number porting, a process that will transfer your number from your phone company to a virtual fax server. All of them work the same, it's the perfect way to get a dedicated line.
7. International availability
Plenty of fax services have relationships with foreign phone companies, allowing them to offer numbers in other territories. An international fax number lets companies from other countries use the service, and can help expanding your company’s presence.
8. Easy to Use and Get Started
If you want to get a fax number that works with Google right now, simply head to the service of your preference and create a new account. It's as easy as following a few information fields!