My Google Voice Can't Verify a Number
By Michael Cox
Connecting your home or mobile phone to Google Voice enables you to ring the phone using your Google Voice number, get voice mail and even send callers to your Google Voice mailbox from your phone. To set up your Google Voice account, you must verify ownership of a phone, and under certain circumstances you may run into problems if Google doesn't recognize the proper Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency signal from your phone's keypad.
While Google Voice offers you a second phone number and options to connect online, Google refers to Voice as a call management service and not a separate phone service. This means you must connect at least one "physical phone" to your account for receiving calls through Google Voice. The phone you use should be capable of generating clear, standard DTMF tones using its keypad.
Verifying Your Phone
To verify your phone, Google asks you to enter the number and choose the type of phone you're connecting. When you click "Save," Google Voice displays a two-digit number. When you press the "Connect" button Google dials your phone, and when you answer it a recorded voice asks you to enter the number. Like other automated systems, Google Voice listens for the DTMF tones and acknowledges them when they're correct. If you press the wrong numbers or there's another problem, the system responds, "I didn't get that," and asks you to try again. If you can't verify a phone, Google won't complete your account setup.
Most phones should transmit the correct tones using either the physical keypad or the on-screen keypad available during a call. If Google doesn't recognize the tones, try calling another automated system, such as your bank, and using the same keypad to select options in that system. If you can use a different automated system, try generating a different two-digit combination by clicking the "X" at the top of the "Verify your phone" box in Google Voice and then re-verifying the phone. If other systems don't understand your keypad input, consult your phone's manual or contact the provider. If you're verifying a mobile or cordless phone, try it in a different location where the signal is strongest.
If you're using Session Initiation Protocol hardware or software to take calls using a Voice Over IP service, like a Skype Online Number or some business phone systems, problems can result. The physical or on-screen keypad may not transmit the correct tones for verification, or it may transmit them too quickly or quietly. Google recommends that SIP phones be configured to send DTMF tones using the RFC2833 protocol. This may be configurable in your phone service's software or you may need to contact the provider or your company's IT department for assistance. As a last resort, you might try using a DTMF tone generator to play the tones through your phone's mouthpiece.
Michael Cox writes about lifestyle issues, popular culture, sports and technology. In a career spanning more than 10 years, he has contributed to dozens of magazines, books and websites, including MSN.com and "Adobe Magazine." Cox holds a professional certificate in technical communications from the University of Washington.