This post was last updated on November 4th, 2021 at 03:39 pm
Apple’s decade-old “There’s an app for that” campaign assured us that there’s an app for pretty much everything. If you can think of it, there’s an app. Can I have a full-featured office productivity suite? Yes. Can I film and edit a movie in my pocket? Yes. Can I send a fax from my Gmail? Yes. Does Google have a fax app? Well… sort of.
Google Fax App vs Can I Send a Fax From My Gmail?
To answer this requires some clarification and wading through lots of apps that read like variations on a fax theme. Our goal is to find the simplest possible answer to your question.
Does Google Have a Fax App?
Google does not offer its own fax app. If you search for “fax” on the Google Play app store or the G-Suite marketplace, you will find pages of third-party apps offering all kinds of variations on faxing. The same is true for both Chrome browser plugins and android apps. Some stand alone, some integrate with specific productivity tools (including Google Docs, Microsoft Office, and Apple’s iWork tools). Strangely, while Google offers, by far, the most widely-used office tools and a free phone app (Google Voice), they don’t offer their own fax app.
How Online Faxing Works
Read the details on a few of the third-party fax apps and you notice a pattern: Regardless of how it is integrated with any sort of office product, the app is connected with an “online fax service”. This is because online faxing has to go through an actual phone line at some point. An online fax service is where the fax you send or receive gets transferred between the internet and the phone line. Lots of companies are vying to do this for you. That’s why there are so many apps.
Doing a Narrow Apps Search
Actually, it makes sense to sort these apps before you look at the comments. You have some key questions to ask yourself: do I want to fax from my computer or my phone? Do I need the app to integrate with a specific tool (like Microsoft Word or Google Sheets)? Do I want the app to do more than fax, such as organize and archive faxes I’ve sent/received? These apps (and the fax services behind them) offer everything from bare-bones faxing to full virtual offices complete with voice phone lines and productivity suite integration.
Yikes! The Comments!
Once you know the features you’re seeking, do a narrowed search for just the apps that fit. Now read the comments. Overwhelming, isn’t it? Even after the routine of ignoring the one-star reviews (people with grudges) and the five-stars (the vendor glowingly reviewing itself), there are a lot to wade through. We find that the frustrations center around three themes:
- Installation/app integration frustrations
- App updates breaking integration/features
- Being locked into one device (i.e. your laptop or phone)
What If You Kept Things Simple?
This isn’t to say that there isn’t a solid app out there for you. The best ones seem to keep it simple by specializing in integration with just one office tool (i.e. Word or Excel or Powerpoint) or being completely standalone without app integrations. But what if you went even simpler? Can I send a fax from my Gmail?
Faxing Entirely With Gmail
A number of online fax services will let you fax directly with Gmail rather than requiring a separate app. This means you are completely platform-independent and don’t have to install an app. Anywhere you have Gmail, you basically have a fax machine. We favor RingCentral because it keeps things incredibly simple. You get your own dedicated local fax number, and you fax just like you were emailing, by simply attaching the document you’re faxing. There’s also a full-featured 30-day trial to test-drive it. The fax process goes like this:
- Start an email
- Attach the document you’re faxing
- Address the email with the recipient’s number @rcfax.com
- Receive a confirmation email
Conclusion: No Fax App Needed
Bottom line is, there are lots of fax apps on the Google Play store, but none of them are by Google. Almost all of them are connected to an online fax service. But there’s also a simpler way: fax directly from Gmail, the tool you’ve already mastered. It’s the app for that.