There is a company advertising on TV that instead of getting two cell phones you should just buy a second number through them. That can be a great convenience EXCEPT Google already gives you a FREE second phone number with every FREE Gmail (Google's email) account you have with them.
Google Voice is a service which you can pay extra to use for some purposes but which can also be used entirely free for such basic things as having a local phone number in your present town or a completely different town which will ring through any phone you already have!
Also free are things like caller blocking and forwarding of voice and even a text translation ofany messages or a simple notification that a call was answered from such and such number when they don't leave a message.
The voice to text translation by Google isn't perfect although it is improving and if the person calling leaves a clear message the text version can be very accurate - it's usually good enough if you are expecting a message such as form a pharmacy.
But in any case you get the original voice recording also in the email notice.
You can also set your own custom message on the new number and even decide what time of day you can get a forwarded call and which times the system will ONLY take a message.
I have four of these numbers and two cell phones as well as a home phone linked to them in various ways because there are two of us and we also have a business - since I often do interviews I have local numbers in Washington D.C. and New York which people in those areas can reach as a local call.
I won’t tell you how to use a second number because everyone has a different reason for needing a second phone number from having separate numbers for work and private use to merely having a virtual presence in a distant city, perhaps to let people make a local call to you no matter where you actually are physically, perhaps on a trip.
How about if you are picking up a relative at the airport and want to keep things simple so you just give them one number to reach you whether you are at home or on the way and using a cell phone?
I've done that but you may never have a use for that idea. Nevertheless there are dozens or hundreds of uses for a second phone number which can be associated with your existing phone(s) and it is great to know that this is yet another FREE service from Google.
Of course it isn’t completely free, we all pay Google indirectly by having those ads show up when we do a search - that’s where Google makes billions of dollars every year, as well as in some value added services but the point is you don't have to send them any money just to get the email address and phone number.