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Written by
Katy Ratican
3 Jan 2022
5 minutes
Google Voice vs. Sideline: A comparison
A detailed comparison of Google Voice and Sideline, with a smarter alternative for startups and small business owners
Google voice vs. Sideline comparison

Savvy startups and business owners are ditching the traditional landline and searching for second phone number apps. Google Voice is a popular second phone number for work. But once you start searching for a Google Voice alternative, you’ll find that there are several sensible options.

So, which one is better for your business? As a Google Voice alternative, does Sideline make the cut? To help you choose the right second phone for work, here’s a detailed comparison of Google Voice and Sideline.

What is Google Voice?

Launched in 2009, Google Voice is the search giant’s application that enables you to make and receive phone calls through the internet. It also lets you use voicemail and forward your calls. Google Voice also allows you to port your number.

Since it’s from one of the biggest companies on the planet, the service has great awareness across countries. It also comes with certain advantages that have added to its popularity.

Pros of Google Voice

It's free: The most important reason for its popularity, of course, is the fact that Google Voice is a free service. Both calls and texts are free in the app.

Choice of number: The service allows you to choose a number from a list of available options. You can also select by number or name combination.

Call blocking: Google Voice allows you to block unwanted calls and telemarketers that the app identifies.

Transcription: The app also gives the transcripts of your voicemails. You’ll be able to download or forward them to an email address.

Call recording: You can also record your calls with the app.

Cons of Google Voice

Not business-friendly: One of the main reasons why people search for a Google Voice alternative in the UK is that the app is not designed for the needs of small businesses. It’s intended for all Google Workspace users.

No IVR or auto-attendant: The service doesn’t have IVR or auto-attendant, which might dissuade small business owners.

Limited presence: Google Voice doesn’t have a seamless presence everywhere. If you’re a sole trader or small business owner with international clients, this could create problems.

Unreliable customer support: Google has hundreds of millions of users and not surprisingly, it’s difficult to offer reliable customer support.

Limited integration: As a business owner, easy integration with Google Workspace is what you would expect. Unfortunately, the free version of the app doesn’t support it.

Google Voice pricing

It’s free if you call landlines or mobiles in the UK. The paid versions start at £7.50.

What is Sideline?

It’s not uncommon for those searching for Google Voice alternative to consider Sideline. The app provides a second phone number that you can personalise. If you already have a virtual number, you’ll be able to transfer it to Sideline with ease.

Sideline also allows you to share your virtual number with others. Now any of your employees will be able to respond to calls or texts.

Pros of Sideline

Transcription: Along with transcription of your voicemail, Sideline can also start a text conversation with your callers.

Free texting: There’s no limit to the number of free texts that you can send.

Group management: Multiple people will be able to manage your phones or calls with Sideline.

Cons of Sideline

No free calls: While texts are free, calls aren’t. So, if you use Sideline, it will be deducted from your carrier’s minutes.

Monthly fee: The monthly fee plus minute deduction may not suit the budgets of small business owners and freelancers.

Sideline pricing

The plans start at £7.50 per month.

Chalkboard: The best alternative phone number for business

If you’re looking for a second number alternative, the smarter choice is Chalkboard. Unlike Sideline, Chalkboard has a free trial period and highly affordable plans which would suit businesses that are conscious of how much they spend. The other advantages include:

No limits on calls: Chalkboard won’t charge you for calls or texts. The subscription plan would take care of everything.

Choice of numbers: With Chalkboard, you can choose a local number in the US or a mobile number in the UK.

No need for a new device: Download the app and you can get started without having to buy a new device or SIM.

Broadcast messages: You can broadcast messages to your contact lists in one go. This makes it easier to market your new products or services.

Auto-reply: Missed a call? Don’t worry, as Chalkboard will send a pre-written text to the caller. This can help enormously with lead generation and customer support.

Request aggregation: You can automate online review requests for your small business. The app will send a pre-determined request to your customers that will build your online reputation.

Review management: You can also manage and reply to online reviews through Chalkboard. Timely management of online reviews will improve your brand equity.

A second number made for businesses

If you’re looking for a Google Voice alternative, what you need is not just a second phone number, but one that’s made for businesses. Chalkboard has been devised with the needs of startups and small businesses in mind.

The versatility of features and affordability should be enough to convince you to sign up for the free trial. Once you start using it, you’ll realise that it’s not just a phone system but an effective marketing tool for your business.

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Chalkboard is a separate phone number for work

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