Google Voice is a web-based phone service, launched about a year ago, that allows users to link all of their existing phone numbers, whether it be work, home, or cell, together into one number. The only catch was that up until this week if you wanted an account, you had to request and receive an invite. Now, the company is taking it up a notch by providing this service to all U.S. residents, free of charge and sans-invite. Google Voice also allows for free text messaging to the U.S. and Canada, regardless of your service provider, along with low international service rates.
Throughout this last year of testing Google has added many new improvements on this already convenient system. Some of the new updates include being able to not only read voicemails (from all your numbers) as transcripts in your email, but also to play back the audio version in the email itself. The text version can prove very handy in situations where you can’t readily listen to the audio version, such as during class or a meeting. Google Voice has also made it possible to receive text messages to your email as well, allowing easier access. Additionally, it allows for better organization by giving a Gmail-esque threading system or organizing by specific contacts. Another recently added feature is the ability to link Google Voice to an existing number you already own. This way you don’t have to go through the hassle of informing people about a new number.
Google making this program completely free and readily available should definitely boost its popularity with the general public; especially since Google Voice was designed to allow for ease of communication and organization in the average person’s everyday activities. It is something that everyone, no matter what kind of life they lead, can appreciate and benefit. Now that Google has made it even easier and hassle-free to get access to this service, it should further encourage people to try it out, something that I can see no real downside to.
As a busy, employed, college student, I appreciate Google coming up with a smart way to help me better organize my life and spend less time messing around with a bunch of different gadgets. I personally love using my Google Voice account, especially since I live away from home and have issues accessing calls or voicemails that are sent to my home number. My favorite feature would definitely be having voicemail transcripts sent to my email, as it allows me to keep updated, especially because I often forget my phone. Thanks to Google’s innovation, I finally have everything I need to communicate with the world in one place.
Links: Google Voice