Google announced yesterday that Google Voice is now open to everyone with a U.S. telephone number. Until now, you had to get an invite from someone who was invited to use it.
What is it? It’s a nifty Internet phone service that works with your existing phones and gives pretty good competition to Skype. Here’s what makes it so awesome:
- You link your existing phone numbers (land line, cell phone, work phone) to the Google Voice number. When someone calls it, all those phones ring.
- Google Voice stores your voicemail and can send you SMS and/or e-mails with transcripts of the message.
Not so awesome:
- The transcription is far from perfect. But you can get enough info to identify the caller and listen to audio of the message.
You can also view a list of voicemail messages and delete unwanted ones. Yes, you can do that on an iPhone. But this allows you to do it from your computer or mobile device.
Speaking of mobile devices, you can use the Google Voice mobile app to send SMS messages without charges from your cellular carrier.
And all that is free. (You do pay to use it to call landlines and international numbers.) If you’d like to see more about the service, you’ll be happy to know that Google’s put up some video demos of its key features.
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