An alternative way to send or receive text messages

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There are some people who use computers, but don’t do text messages.  That sometimes presents a problem for them, but there’s a way to get around it.

text messaging alternative

 

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

When you go to set up a new Microsoft account, one of the things they will want you to provide is a phone number – and they assume this will be a cell phone that receives text messages. Microsoft is not asking for your phone number so that they can text you all the time with spam messages. They want to have that in place in case you ever need to verify your identity.

This usually comes into play when you forget your Microsoft password. When you click on the “Forgot password” link, they’ll offer to send you a text message to the phone number you have on file, in order for you to prove that you are the person who owns that Microsoft account. Then you can reset the password. It’s a pretty quick recovery process, but you have to have that phone number already on file with them in order to do that.

But sometimes I’ll have a client who has just never bothered with text messaging. So they don’t really know how to get a text message. Or, maybe they’re using an older style phone, or a no-contract phone that doesn’t do text messaging. We come to the place where you have to get a confirmation text message in order to configure the new Microsoft account, but how do you do that when you can’t get a text message on your phone?

Google, of course!

If you have a Gmail email account, you already have the ability to do this. Just go to this website: voice.google.com and  sign in with your Gmail email address and password.

Then, just go through their process of setting up a Google Voice phone number. You can even choose one that starts with your own area code if you’re in the US (not sure how it works outside the US). Once you have your phone number assigned to your account, you can use the Google Voice service to make outbound calls, or for people to call you at that number. And guess what – you can also send and receive text messages from that number! All the instructions and configurations are at the website, voice.google.com.

So when Microsoft (or any other website) needs a phone number that receives text messages, just give them your Google Voice phone number. In fact, you might want to use that number even if you are able to get text messages on your actual phone – might help reduce the number of spam message you get on your phone.

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