How To Receive Phone Calls on Gmail

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Mail is now more than a simple email account. It is a central point into the network of tools and features that Google gives to users. If you have a Gmail account, you automatically have some space in the cloud with Google Drive, you can use Docs, you can have a profile on Google Plus etc. You can also have a Google Voice account that allows you to make and receive phone calls through multiple phones. If you use an Android phone or are logged in using Chrome browser, all these services are here waiting for you to use them. With Gmail, you can also make and receive phone calls. It is a place where you handle contacts in numbers and is, therefore, a good place to communicate with them in other ways. 

You can receive calls directly in your Gmail inbox. For this you will need the following:

  • A Google Voice account. Google Voice is till now (as it has always been for several years now) only available for people residing in the United States. This means that you cannot enjoy this if you are outside the US. If you do not have a Google Voice account yet, register for one for free. You will then have your Gmail account to ring along with other phones. To do that, you need to enter the setting in your Google Voice account and add to the 'Forwards to:' values 'Google chat'. You will find this option in the 'Phones' tab. Don't forget to save. 
  • An appropriate browser, preferably Chrome. You are dealing with Google apps and services here, better use a browser from Google. Besides, Chrome is one of the best around. You might run into compatibility issues with other browsers. Also, make sure your Chrome is up to date. 
  • Have downloaded and installed the Hangouts plug-in. The calling functionality is handled by Google's flagship app for voice calling - Hangouts. So to be able to make and receive calls in your Gmail account, you need to download and install the Hangouts plug-in on your browser. 
  • Have made an outgoing call from your account. This is easily done through Google Voice. Choose any contact, or dial any number, and make a call. This is to register you on the service and stands as confirmation that your account is entitled to have calls forwarded to it. 

Note that the calls you will receive in your Gmail account will be calls to your Google Voice account. This means that anyone calling you will be calling to a US number, your Google Voice number. This number can be assigned to you by Google or ported by you to Google (yes, Google Voice allows phone number porting). The call is normally free, as through Google, all calls to the US are free.

This disposition also allows you to make outgoing calls to any destination worldwide. Calls are free to the US and Canada and are cheap (cheaper than through traditional calling means, thanks to VoIP) to many destinations.