Inbound and Outbound Fax with Google Voice
A free phone number to call, text or to check your voicemail. Sounds great?
That’s what Google Voice has been providing since its launch in 2009. The tech company has done its part in maintaining the service, improving it and providing additional features for their users.
But, can you send and receive fax with your Google Voice number?
Well, you can’t do it from Google Voice itself, but you can move your Voice number to an online fax platform. In this article you’ll learn how to do it!
Transfer Your Google Voice Number
If you’ve had a Google Voice number for years and want to use it as a dedicated fax line, you can unlock it and port it to the online fax service of your preference.
These are services that enable you to send and receive faxes over email without the need of a fax machine. When you sign up for a fax service you instantly receive a virtual fax number. But you can also opt to keep the one you are currently using.
The fax number porting process transfer the handling of the number to a new provider. It may take some days to complete because your number needs to be spread on the Internet, but after that it will be ready to receive faxes automatically. You can read more about how this technology works on our online fax number guide.
Keep in mind that after finishing the transfer your number you won’t be able to use as a phone number, it will only serve to send and receive fax transmissions.
To transfer your number, you need to unlock it first on Google Voice. Follow these steps:
- Head over to www.google.com/voice/unlock and log into your Google Voice account.
- Pick the number you want to transfer to your online fax provider from the drop-down list and unlock it. If you only have one number click below it, where it says “Unlock my number”.
- Click Continue.
- Now you need to sign into Google Wallet and pay for the transfer of the document. At the time of writing, it costs $3 to begin the unlock process.
That’s it, once you’ve paid the small fee your number will be ready to be ported to your fax service.
Now comes the second part, requesting the transfer process to your fax provider.
Luckily, most services handle all the porting process. You just have to contact them via email and let them know that you’ll be using your Google Voice fax number for fax. As soon as they receive the request they will begin moving the number to let you use it as soon as possible.
It’s important to choose a reputable online fax provider for the job. They will make the porting process much faster and will give you with a temporary toll-free fax number that you can use in the meantime to avoid missing faxes. This is not because there’s an interruption of your service, but because virtual fax numbers need to propagate across the Internet.
Why Use Your Google Voice Number to Fax?
Use your existing number. There’s no need of having multiple numbers when you already have the one supplied by Google Voice, just keep using the same number and forget about having to update your contacts. People sending fax won’t notice a difference.
No need for additional equipment. Online faxing doesn’t need a fax machine or supplies. All faxing is done either through your online fax account or directly from your email.
Integration with other Google services. you can integrate fax with other Google applications. The most clear example of this is that you can send faxes online, but you can also fax straight from your Google Docs composing window, or by pulling documents from a Google Drive account.
It’s paperless. Why print a document when you can just read it on your computer or cell-phone screen? Incoming faxes arrive as PDF, a type of format that can be read on pretty much any computer, mobile phone or tablet. You retain 100% control over the documents you want to have in physical form.
Why You Can’t Connect Google Voice to a Fax Machine
If you have tried to use your Google Voice line with a fax machine you’ll know that it’s impossible to do so. That’s because this is a VoIP (Voice Over IP) line, and as such is not made to receive the transmissions sent by fax machines. By moving to a service, we are converting this line into a FoIP (Fax Over IP) line, capable of interpreting incoming faxes.
Although there are some methods people have used to try and connect their Google Voice numbers, they are pretty complicated/time-consuming to incorporate, and there’s a 98% chance you won’t get the results you are looking for.