Hi, BH - I actually had watched the videos a few times before posting. The videos didn't answer my questions. They focused on the features that you get when you go with a non-GV number vs. a GV number.
They didn't say anything about what GV features I can get (if any) with my non-GV number *IF* I signed up for a GV assigned number.
I'm not planning on ever giving out (or using) a GV assigned number much ... Mostly because nobody I know will want to use it. I've got a very nice mobile number that all my friends know, and they won't be calling the GV number if I give it to them.
BUT ... Once I choose which number to use, Google sez I'm stuck with my choice. I'm doing the research now to make sure I don't make a choice I will regret later.
Thus, I was wondering if I was crippling myself (with GV features on my mobile number) if I went with the GV-assigned number vs. the using my mobile number on GV.
If that clarifies things, maybe this is the question I should have asked in the first place:
If I sign up for a GV-assigned number and never use the GV-assigned number for anything, are there GV features for my mobile phone that I won't have access to that I would have had if I signed up with GV only using my non GV-assigned mobile number?
Whew. That was a mouthful. (Fingerfull?)
It would seem to me that you don't really understand what Google Voice does.
Think of it like an answering service. It's one number that you use, or give to people to contact you.
Then based on who is calling (determined by individual numbers, or by groups of people), Google Voice does various things, like forwarding the call to one or more of your normal phones, forwarding directly to voicemail or outright blocking the call.
If you don't want to use it like that, it's benefits are greatly diminished. You could set it up as your voicemail service so that you can have a more 'visual voicemail' system, and not have to pay for it. It will also transcribe voicemails allowing you to read them. It can also email this to you if you'd like.
From your original post:
Google says that I can't switch between a Google-assigned number / my mobile phone number. Does this mean that in order to use any of the features of GV, I have to make people use my Google-assigned number? Or, is there a way for me to have people use my existing mobile and still take advantage of the mobile number-only features?
Sounds to me like you're asking if you can have it use your cell number as your Google Voice number.
Only one number can be assigned to a given service. Otherwise the system would get confused.
I think you CAN port your cell phone number to your Google Voice account, but if you did that, you'd have to get a new cell number to be assigned to your cell account.
Otherwise, yes, you would need to give all of your friends/family/contacts your Google Voice number and ask them to use it to call you. They can txt you on it as well, but it doesn't handle MMS.