Google Voice… perhaps you’ve heard of it? Well, if you’ve been refreshing your inbox for your invite or even searching around on ebay for one, your wait is over. Google has taken it’s voice service out of invite-only beta, and released it to the general public.
For those of you not familiar with the service, it allows you to choose a phone number from almost any area code, and then route that number to any of your phones… cell phones, home lines, businesses, wherever. You can set time conditions for when to ring which phones, have different voicemail greetings depending on who calls, get messages transcribed and sent via SMS or email, and even send and receive free text messages… just to name a few features.
While the service – which was once GrandCentral, but got scooped up by Google in 2007 for just over $50 million, just one year after release – may have had it’s ups and downs during the beta test period (to include being the stumbling block that caused the now-infamous rift between Google and Apple), the service is now easy to use and intuitive. It is also a free, centralized service on Android phones, with seamless OS integration. According to Google, their voice service is over 1 million users strong, but you can believe that number will start to go up exponentially, now that it is available to the public. Full announcement via Google Voice Blog can be read here.