So you want all the bells and whistles that come along with Google Voice: call recording, call screening, text messages via email, etc. However, after years of broadcasting your familiar digits via business cards, email footers, and crumpled cocktail napkins, you just can’t bear to switch from your old cell number to a new “Google number,” the requisite for taking advantage of the service. At least, it was requisite; Google is now offering a lite version of Google Voice that lets users retain their phone numbers while taking advantage of some features of Google Voice.
Now, when you sign up for Google Voice, you will have the option to choose a Google number or to keep your own old number. Keeping your own number means you give up amenities like in-call voice recording and call forwarding. However, you get to keep the cream of Google Voice’s offerings: Google Voicemail. The voicemail option will transcribe voicemails (to the best of its computer ability) just seconds after recording them and either text or email them to you. From there, it’s easy to organize them on your PC or within your phone. You can also still set up personalized voicemail greetings for individual phone numbers.
Existing Google Voice users can also add Google Voicemail to individual numbers they’ve linked to their accounts. For those not in the Google Voice loop, it’s invite-only, but you can request one here. Check the video below for more details on the full functionality of Google Voice.