Google Voice and CallerID and Area Code 406Share
If you’re using Google Voice you may have realized getting people to use your new number could be tricky. Lifehacker has a post covering steps you can take to make your friends update their contacts. But the most important factor in getting people to use your new number could easily be CallerID.
If you call someone without going through Google Voice they’ll see the number of the phone you’re using: home landline, cell, or work. The extra steps to initiate the call through Google Voice might be a barrier for users otherwise interested in the service.
But there’s a way to direct dial your contacts and have them see your Google Voice number in the Caller ID. When one of your friends sends an SMS to your Google Voice number it needs to go through a legit mobile number as the intermediary. Google has taken control of a block of area code 406 numbers in Montana for this purpose. The 406 number you (GV user) see when Wendy sends you a text is a permanent mapping between you and Wendy. In other words, Your Google Voice Account + 406 123 4567 = Wendy’s Mobile Phone. But you can’t tell your sister who uses Google Voice to use that same 406 number to call Wendy. For your sister’s Google Voice account there will be a different 406 number assigned to Wendy. The mapping allows one 406 number to be used by many Google Voice customers.
Here’s what happens when you dial the 406 number from one of your Google Voice associated phones: By dialing the 406 number in the first place you’re calling straight into Google Voice. Google sees it’s your home landline from the CallerID and knows you are a Google Voice user. Then Google joins your Google Voice account with the 406 number you’ve dialed which maps to Wendy’s mobile. Your call is completed to Wendy with your Google Voice number inserted into the CallerID instead of the number of the phone you’re calling from.
Downside? From a home landline it would be a long distance call for those of us outside 406. But from many mobile phones long distance is included, so there’s no extra charge.
Keep in mind that another Google Voice user will have a different 406 number for Wendy. Another catch: You can’t use the 406 number from a phone you haven’t tied into your Google Voice account. That would result in Google only having half the equation – they wouldn’t know what Google Voice account to pair with the 406 number to see who should be called. A call to the 406 number from a non-Google Voice phone won’t be completed.
Google hasn’t provided tons of information on the 406 numbers but it’s been reported that the mappings are permanent. For many people, using the 406 numbers to call your contacts will be the most direct way to dial through Google Voice. And it’ll help get people switched over to your new Google Voice number.| Permalink