Two years after acquiring GrandCentral, Google is about to open an updated version of the service to all US users. Google Voice is a free service that provides one number for all your phones, so you can add some features that help you manage phone calls: blocking calls, recording calls, answering from any of your phones, transcribing voicemail and more. The good news is that GrandCentral will continue to be free and you’ll only have to pay for international calls.
“Google Voice gives you one number for all your phones — a phone number that is tied to you, not to a device or a location. Use Google Voice to simplify the way you use phones, make using voicemail as easy as email, customize your callers’ experience, and more. Google Voice isn’t a phone service, but it lets you manage all of your phones. Google Voice works with mobile phones, desk phones, work phones, and VoIP lines. There’s nothing to download, upload, or install, and you don’t have to make or take calls using a computer,” explains the new help center.
NBC reports that the service will start to be publicly available today (25 June 2009) and Google confirms the news: “Invites to people on reservations list starting to go out today.” In March 2009, Google Voice was released as an upgrade to the existing GrandCentral users and you could request an invitation using a form from Google’s site.
Network World found that Google reserved one million phone numbers from Level 3, preparing for the public launch of the service. A major hurdle slowing the adoption of Google Voice is getting a new phone number, but Google tests a feature that allows users to port their existing numbers to the service.
The following videos show how to use Google’s new voice service: