Text with your tablet using Google Voice

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A couple months ago I told you about how you can text with your tablet using TexTab. That involved having the app on both your phone and your tablet, and connecting them via Bluetooth. It is a decent system, but it meant that you had to be tethered to your phone, and had to have a data signal on your phone. The plus side of it was that your texts would come from your cell phone number, thus not confusing any of your friends with a different number. But what if you don’t have a cell signal, but do have WiFi?

I came across this exact scenario at one of my job sites. The second you pull into the parking lot all the bars on my cell phone drop down to one. When you walk into the building that last bar that was holding on drops off, and you are left with no cell service, at all. They do have WiFi available, and since we are part of the IT department, we have access to the network. This is helpful for getting emails, but what about texting? That’s where Google Voice comes in if you live in the US. Google Voice will allow you to text over WiFi if there is no cell signal available. This means you can use your tablet to text with, and not even worry about where your phone is. I could leave my phone in my car and just take my tablet into the building and use it to communicate via email and texting.

There are a couple of downsides to texting through Google Voice. The first is similar to what you get with TexTab. When you text through your tablet, if your Google Voice account is also on your phone, then you will have duplicates of all the received texts on your phone, even if you read them on your tablet. This is a minor annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless.

The other downside is that in order to use a Google Voice account, you have to have a separate number. Google provides you with one, but don’t expect it to be anything like any local numbers available. This in itself isn’t a huge deal because if you use it often, your friends will just need to add it as another number under your contact information. It’s not like most devices have a max number of phone numbers you can have under one contact. Just have them add it as your Google Voice number and they will never have to pay attention to it again because it will just be another text from you from then on.

There are a lot more benefits that come with a Google Voice number, but most of them are more for cell phones. I’ve heard stories of people not paying for cell coverage at all and just using Google Voice to make calls over WiFi. You can also use Google Voice for your cell’s voicemail, and when you get a new one it will send you an email with a transcription of the message so you don’t even necessarily have to listen to it. You can also use Google Voice to have an anonymous number to use for a new employer. For example, my business cards for the IT job I have use my Google Voice number. This way if I ever part ways with this company, I can just change my Google Voice number, and I don’t have to worry about old clients calling me anymore. So if you are looking for a complete calling solution for your phone, or just a way to text from your tablet, give Google Voice a try.

[Google Voice]

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Bryan Faulkner

Bryan Faulkner is a former associate editor at Pocketables. He loves to find new ways to use his tablets while working as the Tech Director at his local church. Mixing sound from the iPad is his newest obsession. He currently has a pair of HP TouchPads, an iPad 2, a decommissioned HTC EVO 4G, and a Samsung Galaxy Note II to tinker with.

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