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Why You Shouldn't Port Your Number to Google Voice

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For a company that has more than a share of detractors, Google's services are almost universally beloved and recommended.

Introduce yourself to a Gmail user as a Hotmail user and prepare for a sympathetic hand on your shoulder. Mention the usefulness of Bing maps to an Android user and expect a condescending demonstration of Google Navigation. And complain to a Google Voice member that you can't get work calls from your cellphone and get ready for a lengthy sales pitch.

But they do have a point. There's a reason behind the acclaim. Gmail is pretty terrific, the Navigation app is a godsend, and Google Voice is a fantastic tool. The latter allows for much greater control over your contact numbers, features free text messaging, and is open to everyone -- including iPhone users.

And now, members can port their existing mobile phone numbers over to Google Voice.

Slowly rolling out to users, the number porting option allows members to keep their existing 10-digit number rather than adopt a new Google-sanctioned number to act as your main contact line. It's a welcomed feature, one that eliminates the number-one reason why many folks haven't jumped headlong into Google Voice.

But before you do, there are some serious reasons why you might want to skip this option.

First off, the feature costs $20 to perform. Understandably, that might be chump change for anyone who's itching to use Google Voice but doesn't want to go through the headache of updating their contact with friends and family. But compared to the Google Voice's normal price of free, that's quite a hike.

Also, that $20 might pale in comparison to your carrier's early termination fee. You see, in order to transfer your number to Google Voice, you have to cancel the contract you have now with your existing provider. As it stands, that's the only way to free up that number and port it to Google Voice. From there, you can either re-up with that provider or switch to a new one and connect the new, disposable line to Google Voice. Your old number will still act as your main Google Voice line.

Sounds like a massive pain just to avoid sending out an email to your contacts.

And that's another thing. Considering that most of my contact's numbers -- maybe all but three or four -- are retained and memorized only by my smartphone, it's not too difficult for most people to simply switch out an old number for a new one. Nowadays, very little effort is needed to "retrain" our friends and family to use a new, free Google Voice number. They'll simply copy the number from your email and paste it into your contact info. Either way, it's your face they're tapping on to launch a phone call.

Granted, there are some people who have sent out their contact information to hundreds of clients, customers, friends, etc. They can't afford to change to a new number. However, you can always adopt the new Google Voice number and keep the old one connected to the service. Continue to use the new Google Voice number and when someone contacts the old line, simply say, "Oh, by the way, you're better off reaching me on this line."

Done and done.

I'm sure there are folks who have a personal and/or professional attachment to their number which requires them to port it to Google Voice. And thankfully, once it's made available to them, they'll soon have that option.

But I wouldn't recommend it.
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