Google Voice Conference Calling

Start a Group Call to Get Lots of People Talking

Women in conference call
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It is very easy to configure and manage an audio conference call with Google Voice. In fact, you don't even have to start as a conference because even one-on-one calls can be made into conference calls on a whim. Also, your Google Voice number can be combined with Google Hangouts to get the full conferencing effect.

What's required

All that's needed to make a Google Voice conference call is a Google account and a computer, smartphone, or tablet that has the app installed. You can get the Google Voice app for Android and iOS devices, and through the web on a computer. The same is true for Hangouts—iOS, Android, and web users can use it.

If you already have a Gmail or YouTube account, you can start using Google Voice in no time. Otherwise, create a new Google account to get started.

How to make the conference call

Prior to the call, you will need to inform all your participants that they should call you on your Google Voice number at the agreed time. You first enter into a phone conversation with one of your participants, by either having them call you or you call them, through Google Voice.

Once you're on the call, you can add the other participants when they dial in. You will be alerted when you have an incoming call. To accept other calls, press after hearing a message about starting a conference call.

You have the option of recording a conference call now in Google Voice (originally this was not available on the service). You must first turn on Incoming call options under Settings > Calls.

All participants must be connected on the conference call to initiate recording. To start recording or stop recording, press 4. All participants on the call will be alerted by a message when recording is activated and deactivated.

The limitations

Google Voice is not primarily a conferencing service, but it is a really helpful way to use your phone number on all of your devices. With that being said, you should not expect too much from it. You should use it as a simple and easy way to make a group phone call. This is why we see limitations with the service.

For starters, a group conference call with Google Voice is limited to 10 people, including you, on the call at once (or 25 with a paid account).

Unlike full-fledged conference tools, there aren't any tools with Google Voice that are intended to manage the conference call and its participants. This means there isn't a facility to schedule the conference call and have the participants invited in advance through email, for example.

Despite the lack of extra conference call features you may find in other services (Skype is one example of a service with better options for conference calling), Google Voice's simple and straightforward conferencing ability that anyone with the basic devices can participate in makes it an appealing option. Because it integrates with your smartphone and lets you use a wide variety of devices, it does its job well as as a central calling service.