Want to make free calls and send free text messages? Of course you do. Today Google is making that possible by opening up Google Voice to everyone in the US.
Google Voice has been invite-only for over a year. The service is a telephony system that allows users to unify their multiple phones (mobile, home, work, etc.) under one number. Regardless of carrier, you can connect one, some, all or none of your phones to your Google Voice number.
Calls will be forwarded to the phone(s) of your choosing, and if you don't answer, the person calling has the option to leave a message, which you can then listen to or check by e-mail. Because voice messages are transcribed to text and then sent to your e-mail account, you can search them just as you would search through ordinary messages.
"Transcriptions aren't perfect, but we hope they're good enough to save you from listening to the message, and we're continually working on improving them," says Google.
There's a ton of other cool features too, such as free text messaging, blocking callers, sharing voicemails and screening calls. Here's a short video of some of them in action:
Apple's Not a Fan
Considering all of the goodness housed in one little tool, it's hard to imagine someone that wouldn't appreciate it, but last summer Apple barred the Google Voice iPhone App from its App Store. Moreover, today BusinessWeek reported that Frontier Communications is suing Google over alleged patent violations within the service.
On the other hand, many users are sure to find Google Voice to be a kind of blessing. In fact, Google says there are over one million people actively using the service. With today's announcement, we expect to see that number balloon tremendously over the next few months.
Want to experience the service first hand? Read, set, go Google.