BGR Breaks it Down: How to use Google Voice in Canada

What better way to celebrate Labor Day weekend than to help all of our Canadian brothers and sisters pull a fast one over on Google? We here at BGR know that a lot of Canadians are worried about the upcoming non-confidence vote that could topple the current government in the midst of an economic crisis, so we thought we’d take advantage of a rather slow Sunday to give you something to smile about: a way to get Google Voice to work in Canada. It does require you to snag a MagicJack, but that’s literally all you need to make this happen. Some of you might be a bit nervous about buying and using a MagicJack up in Canada, but we’ve been using it for a few months now up in our super-secret Canadian satellite office and have not had a single issue. And no, this Google Voice trick doesn’t require you to have the physical MagicJack plugged into your computer at all times. In fact, once you get your MagicJack set up and activate call forwarding, you can throw the little bugger in the trash if you want. Hit the jump to learn how to get your Google Voice on north of the border.

Before we begin, we should note that this tutorial assumes you already have a Google Voice invite. If not, it’s not that hard to find someone on the internet willing to let you take one off their hands for a few bucks or even for free. We should also note that MagicJack is offering a free trial right now so you really have no reason to avoid trying this out. Alright, here we go:

  1. Plug in your MagicJack, install the software and get your US number
  2. Activate your Google Voice account using your MagicJack’s phone number and pick yourself a snazzy new Google Voice number
  3. Go to my.magicjack.com, enable Call Forwarding and have your MagicJack forward all calls to your Canadian cell phone number (or land line, if you still have one)

Done. That’s it. No joke. Now you can use Google Voice.

If you are a BlackBerry or Android user who’s hoping to use the official Google Voice app, you won’t be able to initiate calls because your phone first has to dial out to a US number. Google is wise to the fact that a lot of people will be using various workarounds and has barred Canadian numbers from initiating a GV call this way. The app still works for sending and receiving SMS as well as checking your voicemail, but as far as calls are concerned you really don’t have a choice but to hit up the web portal from your computer at google.com/voice or from your mobile at google.com/voice/m. A minor inconvenience, we would say.

As for fees, the standard Google Voice fees apply, but we’re happy to report that you will not have to pay a single cent to MagicJack for any long distance calls you make. This is because all it is doing is forwarding calls from your US-based GV number to your Canadian-based cell or land line, and all calls to the US and Canada are included in the yearly MagicJack subscription.

Happy calling, Canada.

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