Updated: May 9, 2020
In April 2019, Google announced Voice [for businesses]. This is different from Google Voice, which is a free, individual user offering for Gmail users.
The Voice announcement was for a complete, cloud-based business telephone system, with features such as auto attendant, call transfer and one button calling among users. This “Cloud Telephony for G Suite” may be disruptive to the entire business cloud telephony industry.
Why? Because Google now has a service that competes directly with popular business VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) providers like Vonage, RingCentral, 8×8 and Ooma.
Granted, most of these players have been around for a while and have all feature rich offerings.
However, Google has the inside track for G Suite customers. Google Voice for businesses honors Google Calendar’s working hours. The voice offering also integrates with Google Meet.
Google Voice for Businesses Pricing
Voice is a paid add-on service for G Suite customers. There are three levels of pricing:
The $10 per user per month Starter version caps out at 10 users. There is no support for desktop phones at this level. Users need to make and receive calls through their desktop, tablet or mobile device.
The $20 per user per month Standard version supports unlimited users. Four models of Polycom desk phones are supported at this level. Those models are:
- Polycom VVX 150 OBi Edition
- Polycom VVX 250 OBi Edition
- Polycom VVX 350 OBi Edition
- Polycom VVX 450 OBi Edition
Any of these phones can be plugged into a home router. With sufficient internet speed, a Polycom phone will operate at home just as it does in an office. G Suite customers who are using legacy PBX systems can move to a cloud based phone system and provide employees with desk phones in their homes, if needed.
Automated Attendant is offered with the Standard version. The auto attendant uses text-to-speech synthesis to create voice menus in up to nine different languages.
The $30 per user per month Premier version includes advanced reporting via BigQuery. It appears this version is required to support users outside of the United States. There are also plans for this version to support Data Regions. This means that customers will be able to include/exclude data centers by region.
All versions of Voice support Android & iOS apps. All versions have “intelligent spam call protection” and automated voicemail transcription.
How a Business Can Subscribe to Voice
Voice user licenses can be ordered from the G Suite Admin Console. The order screen is several levels deep—here’s how a G Suite admin can get to it:
1. From the Admin Console, select Apps
2. From Apps, select Additional Google Services
3. In the next screen, click ADD SERVICES in the top right
4. Click the ADD IT NOW button for the Google Voice version you want
5. Follow the prompts to place an order
Before signing up for Google Voice, your company’s network should be configured and optimized for VoIP traffic. Google provides a set of voice connectivity requirements.
As of May 6, 2020, Google Voice for businesses is available in these countries: