How to Make Skype Play Nicely with Google Voice

How to Make Skype Play Nicely with Google VoiceLandlines are so 1990s. If you'd rather not use your cellphone at home but don't want to pay for an expensive landline, you can use Google Voice and Skype to set up a cheap home phone system that won't require everyone learning a new number. Here's how.

We've discussed how to make free VoIP calls from Google Voice before, but if your life is already entrenched in Skype—whether for video chat, cheap long distance, or something else—you probably don't want yet another program running on your machine. Besides, Skype is a well trusted name in VoIP, not to mention pretty inexpensive—much less expensive than a landline. It only takes a few minutes to set up, too. Here's how to do it.

Step One: Get a Skype Online Number

How to Make Skype Play Nicely with Google VoiceSkype's services have become more and more difficult to understand, these days, but to get Google Voice working all you need is an Online Number. For $60 a year (compared to the $30 a month most landlines cost), Skype will give you a phone number that people can call and ring your computer or mobile phones. You can't call out, but that's okay—we don't need to, since Google Voice will take care of that for us.

So, just head on over to Skype's Online Number page and sign up for a number. It doesn't particularly matter what it is, since you won't be giving it out to anyone. We're just going to use it as a forwarding number for Google Voice (so I wouldn't make 555-LUV-CATS a priority). When you've got that all set up, move on to step two.

Step Two: Forward Google Voice Calls to Your new Skype Number

How to Make Skype Play Nicely with Google VoiceOnce you've got your Skype number working, head to Google Voice's settings and click "Add Another Phone". Type in a name (like "Skype"), give it your number, and uncheck "Receive text messages on this phone". I left the Phone type as Mobile, but they should all work, in theory. Click Save and Google Voice will prompt you to activate the phone.

Make sure Skype is running on your machine (or smartphone, if that's where you'll be using Skype) and let Google Voice make the call to confirm your phone. Once you do, you may hear the voice on the other end say it didn't go through—but if it shows up in your Google Voice settings, you should be fine. To test, you can click the "Call" button in Voice's web interface to make a call, and choose Skype as the phone to call with. If Skype doesn't ring, then you can head back to the settings and try again.

Step Three: Turn Off Skype Voicemail

How to Make Skype Play Nicely with Google VoiceThe last thing you'll want to do is set Skype to forward calls back to Google Voice if you aren't logged in or don't pick up. If you don't tweak this setting, then all unanswered calls will start going to Skype's voicemail instead of Google Voice's which we don't want.

To fix this, open up Skype and go to Tools > Options (or Skype > Preferences if you're on a Mac). Under Calls, go to Call Forwarding and check the "Forward my calls to" box. Type your Google Voice number in the box and save your settings. From now on, all unanswered calls should go to your Google Voice mailbox.

Update: It turns out you do, in fact, need Skype credit for this—though probably not a lot. You can get Skype Credit here.

How to Make Calls from Skype with Google Voice

That's it! Now, whenever you're logged into Skype, all calls made to your Google Voice number will ring Skype on your computer. Note that Voice will also cause any other forwarding phones to ring, so you may want to head into Voice's preferences, click Edit under your phones, and click "Show Advanced Settings". From there you can choose "Use a Custom Schedule" to make certain phones ring at different times of the day. That way, you can make Skype ring at night when you're home and your work phone ring during the day when you're at the office (or whatever you want).

How to Make Skype Play Nicely with Google VoiceTo make calls, open up Google Voice in your browser—not Skype—and click the Call button. Type in the number or contact you want to call, choose Skype as the phone to call with, and click Connect. In a few seconds, Skype should start ringing, saying you have a new call from your Google Voice number. When you pick it up, it will connect you to the person you want to call.

Got any other tips for connecting Google Voice with Skype, or using Google Voice as a VoIP service in general? Share them in the comments below.

Title image by Jake Sumpter using an illustration by Neon Fizz (Shutterstock).

Tags:

About the author: Pavel Ciorici

 

Share a little biographical information to fill out your profile.

Website: http://www.nuldi.com

 

Recent posts

 
 

Add a comment

required

required

optional