How to Use Google Voice to Record Family Stories Remotely
Updated: Apr 4
When I decided to do my first life story project for my dad’s parents, there was just one little problem: I lived in Arizona, and they were in Utah. How would I record our interviews when we couldn’t be in the same room? After doing some research, I discovered there is a way to record phone calls from your cell phone. Don’t worry, it sounds like espionage, but it is 100% legal. And it’s FREE! Let me explain the process step-by-step:
Go to https://google.com/voice. If you already have a Google account, you can sign in with that. If not, you will need to create one (it’s free). Google will walk you through the steps of setting up your Google voice account.
During the set-up process you will choose a Google voice phone number that will forward calls and messages to your cell phone. This does not change your phone number or mess with your carrier. It is simply a routing system that sends calls to your cell phone through another number.
In order to record a phone call, the person you are talking to needs to initiate the call. When they call your Google voice number, your cell phone will ring and you answer normally. When you are ready to start recording, press 4. You and the other person will hear an announcement: “This call is being recorded.” (Sorry, this means you cannot record your boyfriend telling you what a goddess you are without his knowing). When you are ready to end the recording, press 4 again and another announcement will be made that the recording is off.
Once the call is over, you will be able to access the recording through the Google voice online page. From there you can download it to your computer. I saved my recordings directly to iTunes. You can also “Archive” the recordings on Google Voice to save them.
And there you have it! If you have any questions feel free to comment. If you would like to learn more about how I can help your family record your stories, whether in Phoenix or elsewhere (thanks to Google Voice!), I would love to hear from you.