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22 key pros and cons of Google Voice for business use in 2024

Google Voice pros and cons

If you’re looking for a VoIP platform, Google Voice is likely to appear at the top of your search results.

Founded in 2009, it lets you make phone calls and send text messages directly through an internet connection. Like other VoIPs, you can reach callers on a cloud platform through multiple devices, including laptops, mobile phones, and more. 📱

Google Voice (Voice) has some basic functionality for users looking to make the switch to VoIP — but is it really a one-stop-shop phone service that can grow as your business does? Do the pros of Google Voice outweigh the cons?

Maybe. Maybe not. 🤔

Let’s explore the pros and cons of Google Voice and discover whether it’s the right VoIP service for your business.

Pros and cons of Google Voice

Here are the key pros and cons of Google Voice

Pros

  • Offers free numbers
  • Allows free calls to the US
  • Lets you call and text internationally
  • Share responsibility for incoming calls
  • Can port in existing numbers

Cons

  • Texting is available in the US only
  • Works only with other Google apps
  • Costs more than other VoIP providers
  • Caps users
  • Collaboration is limited
  • Getting the right context takes extra time
  • No toll-free numbers
  • No auto-replies
  • Limited availability
  • No desktop app available
  • No call recordings directly available
  • Difficult to manage contacts
  • Limited text forwarding options
  • Three-way calls require a workaround
  • No way to save time texting
  • Not easy to send ​​MMS messages
  • Can’t test features with a free trial

In the sections below, we’ll cover each of these in more detail.

Pros of Google Voice

The Google Voice app offers some basic features to those less familiar with internet-based cell phone services. There are five major benefits to keep in mind. ⬇️

1. Offers free numbers 

Phone numbers on Google Voice come free with a personal use plan. This includes numbers with local area codes, giving your business a more professional and trustworthy appearance. 💼

But Google Voice’s free plan wasn’t built for business use — and it shows. 

The free plan is only available to users in the US and only for US phone numbers. This only includes the contiguous 48 states, which exempts Hawaii, Guam, Alaska, and a few other locations. There’s also no customer support, so troubleshooting frequent issues might get tricky. And if you want multiple Google Voice numbers on the same account, paying for Google Workspace is one of your only options.

2. Make free calls to the US 

Google Voice’s paid plans offer free calling to the United States from any country, which is a nice benefit for businesses with lots of clients in the United States. However, this doesn’t work both ways. Free calling to Canada is only available to US and Google Voice Canada customers. And if you want to make calls to countries outside the US, you’ll be subject to Google Voice’s international call rates. 📞

3. Call and text internationally

Pros and cons of Google Voice: Google Voice calling rates

As mentioned earlier, Google Voice provides ample opportunity to make international calls from your VoIP primary phone number. 🌎 It lets you send free text messages to Canadian numbers, which can be valuable for US businesses that have customers in Canada.

The platform also supports calls and messaging to dozens of different countries, including Spain, the UK, Australia, and more. Although you’ll have to add credits to your account to get started, Voice’s rates are cheaper than traditional carriers.

Keep in mind that you may be charged for international calls when ringing from outside the US. If you use paid minutes, you’ll be charged directly from your phone plan or get stuck with extra roaming fees if you wander outside the carrier’s network. Text messaging is also only available to US customers. 

4. Share responsibility for incoming calls

Pros and cons of Google Voice: Share responsibility for incoming calls with Google Voice

One of the most notable pros of Google Voice for business is its support for ring groups (aka hunt groups). This function rings multiple devices at the same time until someone in the assigned group picks up the call. You can also enable hunt groups to ring in a sequential order to connect callers with the right person at the right time. ☎️

Unfortunately, ring groups aren’t a cheap feature. Gaining access requires you to upgrade to the Google Voice Standard plan, which costs $20 per user per month.

5. Porting in existing numbers

Pros and cons of Google Voice: How porting works in Google Voice

On the free plan, any existing phone number can be ported into Google Voice, including the ones housed on cell phones, desk phones, and even other VoIPs. Porting into the platform comes at a price — $20 USD per number. If you’re porting out your number from the free plan, expect to pay a $3 unlocking fee.

With Google Voice’s business plans, there are some strict porting limitations to keep in mind. You can’t move a number from one Google Workspace account to another. You can’t port numbers associated with consumer Gmail addresses, mobile numbers in the EU, or numbers outside the Google Voice coverage area (even within a supported country).

It can take up to 48 hours to port over your existing number. Text messages can take up to three business days to transfer to your Voice account.

Cons of Google Voice

Even though Google Voice has some advantages, it’s far from perfect. Here are 17 drawbacks of Google Voice you’ll want to know before signing up. ⬇️

1. Texting is for US customers only

One of the biggest disadvantages to Google Voice for many businesses is that even if you pay for Google Voice, texting is currently available only to US customers.

2. Works only with other Google apps

Pros and cons of Google Voice: Google voice workspace integrations

Voice does have a few integrations, but only within the Google ecosystem. By that, we mean Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar. 📅 While these systems have their place, they may not be important to growing businesses. You won’t be able to connect with the platforms already in your tech stack, or you’ll have to find a workaround to keep your productivity up. Plus, you can’t integrate other Google apps with your phone system without buying access to Google Workspace.

3. Costs more than other VoIP providers

If you’re on the free plan for a personal number, you won’t pay anything for the basic service (i.e., calls and texts). 

But Google Voice for Google Workspace isn’t a free service. If you’re a small business owner, you should expect to pay double digits for everyone on your team:

  • The Starter plan is $10 per user per month
  • The Standard plan is $20 per user per month
  • The Premier plan is $30 per user per month

On top of that, to use Google Voice you’ll need a Google Workspace subscription, which costs an extra $6 per user per month. Unfortunately, these costs start to add up — especially considering that there are better small business phone system options. 

4. Caps users

If you have more than 10 employees on your team, Voice probably won’t be the solution for you. Google Voice for Google Workspace caps teams at 10 users, even on the paid Starter plan. You’ll have to upgrade to the next highest tier for unlimited users, which doubles the cost per user to $20 per month.

Even if you choose to upgrade, accessing KPIs about your team’s business phone usage will require you to invest even more. Data analytics are locked behind Google Voice’s most expensive plan. You can’t track the metrics of individual team members unless you’re willing to pay $30 per user per month.

5. Collaboration is limited

There’s no shared number access on the free Google Voice plan, and its complicated workarounds for collaboration can be frustrating to growing businesses: 

  • You won’t be able to chat with team members without using a separate app (e.g., Google Hangouts), which just adds more bulk to your tech stack.  
  • There’s no support for collaboration within individual messages — unlike Google Docs, there are no comments or mentions.
  • You won’t have access to ring groups on Google Voice’s free version. You’ll need to purchase at least the Standard plan.

Bottom line: Collaboration isn’t one of Google Voice’s strong points.

6. Getting the right context takes extra time

Google Voice doesn't have an unified inbox

In Google Voice, every voicemail message, text, or call you receive is organized in separate inboxes — which gets confusing fast. To have visibility into your entire conversation history with customers, you’ll need to hunt through each folder and string together the details piece by piece, which can bottleneck your team and reduce your responsiveness. 

Many business owners find sifting through separate inboxes frustrating (as seen in this Google Voice review):

“Great idea; Not so great implementation. You’d think Google would try to set it up in such a way that it would work the same as the Messages app. Very long texts end up unsearchable, let alone trying to find old media that was shared in it.” Play Store Reviews

7. No toll-free numbers

Not having access to toll-free numbers with Google Voice becomes a serious problem as your business grows. It’s harder to serve customers from faraway places, limiting your expansion into specific markets. Plus, non-toll-free numbers force certain callers to pay long-distance fees, which won’t reflect well on your business.

Fortunately with VoIP alternatives like OpenPhone, you can get toll-free along with US and Canadian local numbers — no strings attached. 🧵

8. No auto-replies

If you’re looking to set up an auto-response that lets callers know when you’re not available and when they can expect to hear back from you, Google Voice doesn’t offer this feature. Auto-replies with Google Voice aren’t available on its free or paid plans.

9. Limited availability

Google Voice for Google Workspace has country-specific limitations

Google may be a global brand, but not all its features are globally accessible. As mentioned earlier, Google’s free version is accessible only if you’re in the US. 

Even the paid version of Google Voice for Google Workspace has country-specific limitations. Google Voice’s business plan is available only to users in a shortlist of specific countries. According to its website, Google Voice for Google Workspace provides support in:

  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden (Stockholm, Malmö, and Göteborg)
  • Switzerland
  • UK
  • Continental US

If one of your teammates lives somewhere not listed above, they won’t be able to use Google Voice, even if an admin on your team does.

10. No desktop app available

This limitation is exactly what it sounds like. Although Google Voice works with web-based browsers and mobile apps (Android and iOS), the lack of a desktop app may drastically limit your team’s productivity. For example, it’s easy to miss incoming calls or messages when you have to constantly switch between browser tabs and windows. 💻

​​11. Limited availability for call recordings

Pros and cons of Google Voice: Google Voice has limited availability for call recordings

It’s possible to get call recordings through Google Voice — but not on the base plan for paid users.

On the free plan, you’ll need to manually activate recording on each call. Plus, all participants have to be on the call before you can begin recording.  And once the session is over, your recordings will be pushed to an email account as an audio file — less than optimal if you need to access the recording. ⌚

For Google Workspace accounts, call recording is available only on higher-tier plans. 

You’ll need to pay $20 per user per month for ad-hoc call recording and $30 per user per month to auto-record calls. This can add up quickly, making it a pricey feature.

12. Difficult to manage contacts

Pros and cons of Google Voice: Contact management in Google Voice

Contact management is not simple on Google Voice. If you opt for Voice’s free version, your business contacts will be stored with all other contacts associated with your current Google account. This mixes your personal and professional contacts — not a great idea.  

If any of your contacts’ information gets updated or changed, you won’t have the ability to share or sync it with the rest of your team. Depending on your workflow or company size, this could be a big problem.

Sharing access to Google Contacts requires even more legwork. You’ll need to enable contact sharing manually, and you can only delegate contacts to people who share the same domain as you. And don’t forget: there are separate inboxes for all incoming communications.

13. Limited text forwarding options

You only get one automated option for forwarding texts in Google Voice: the option to forward messages to the email address associated with your account.

If you want to automatically forward texts to multiple email addresses or other apps you use, you’ll need to use another business phone solution.

14. Three-way calls require a workaround

If you attempt to start a three-way call in Google Voice via its mobile app, your personal cell number shows to each person you call. When you want to keep your personal number private, your only options are to have them call your Google Voice number or use Google Meet. 

Or you can factor in all the limitations mentioned here and go with another business phone solution.

15. No way to save time texting 

Need to use Google Voice texting to automatically send appointment confirmations? You won’t be able to with Voice. Want to schedule texts? Not available either. This is because Google Voice lacks automation, so you’ll need to spend time manually texting all of your customers. 

OpenPhone, on the other hand, lets you send automatic texts to remind customers about appointments, respond to after-hours customer inquiries, and more, giving your customers a better overall experience.

16. Not easy to send ​​MMS messages

Google Voice comes with basic MMS capabilities that let you send and receive certain media file formats in messages, including:

  • Pictures (.jpg, .png) 
  • Moving pictures (GIFs) 

However, Voice doesn’t allow you to send and receive other useful media formats, such as:

  • Music files
  • Videos
  • Word documents
  • PDFs 

These file types are often essential for doing things like booking appointments and sending bills or invoices. If you want to include them in your messages, you’ll need to find a different business phone solution. 

17. Can’t test features with a free trial

One of the biggest letdowns with Google Voice is the lack of a free trial. If you’re a small business trying to figure out whether Voice’s paid plans fit your needs, you’re out of luck. 

In contrast, OpenPhone offers a free, seven-day trial, giving you the chance to explore all of its features without any upfront investment.

So, is Google Voice good for business?

The disadvantages of Google Voice, including the lack of collaboration options and complicated plan options, far outweigh its advantages. Fortunately, there are better alternatives that still give you a virtual phone number you can access from almost anywhere.

Why businesses switch from Google Voice to OpenPhone

Switch from Google Voice to OpenPhone

While Google Voice has its moments, it’s not the most cutting-edge VoIP on the market. Call quality can be iffy at times, which might cost you clients. You’ll also have to upgrade to more expensive tiers if you want access to Google Voice’s call forwarding and auto-attendant features. Plus, there are no toll-free numbers, zero third-party integrations, and no desktop apps to speak of.

If you need more flexibility and superior customer support, Google Voice won’t be the right platform for your business.

But that’s not to say VoIP isn’t useful. Modern VoIP options are a great way to collaborate with teams and reach contacts from wherever you go. Just ask thousands of customers using OpenPhone’s solutions every day! 🎉

“This software allowed me to merge my VoIP number along with my texting package at the same price I was currently paying for texting. It also allows utilization of my cell phone for work calls as well as personal calls via their app.”  –Matthew V.

“I like the way OpenPhone integrates text messages, voice mails, and phone calls in the same thread. It helps to track communication with customers.”  –Jennifer R.

“The ability to see what everyone is doing and share communications actively and being able to tag [teammates] within a conversation. … For everyone to have visibility into what’s going on, I think that’s probably the biggest thing that OpenPhone solves.”  –Chris Wright, President at Oncentive. 

​​Curious to see how OpenPhone can streamline your communication and help teams work together? Try out OpenPhone for free with a temporary number and a free seven-day trial.

Does Google Voice have poor call quality?

Some users report sound quality issues when using Google Voice, such as dropped calls, echoes, and delays. These problems can be bad for business and negatively impact how customers view your brand.

Will Google Voice flag your text messages as spam?

Google Voice can flag your text messages as spam if you send the same message to multiple contacts. Their platform is designed for one-on-one conversations, not bulk messaging. This can lead to your account being temporarily restricted, which can disrupt your communication with customers. 

Is Google Voice actively maintained?

While Google Voice continues to function and receive basic updates, its pace of development is slower compared to other VoIP solutions. If you’re looking for more advanced features and regular improvements that can take more work off your team’s plate, you should go with another business phone option.

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