Google Voice: The Final Countdown (to new members)
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David MarseillesDavid Marseilles

Google Voice: The Final Countdown (to new members)

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UPDATE3: The rumors were correct, Google says invites start going out today but will take a while. Start reloading your inbox…. now.

UPDATE 2: Shortly after I tweeted Google Voice's Craig Walker asking for confirmation on the CBS tip that waitlisters would be issued numbers this week, the official Google Voice Twitter account posted another "we're working 24/7 ... but have no announcements to make." While I take the CBS tip itself with a grain of salt, Google Voice is definitely on the verge of adding members.

UPDATE: CBS' Morning News, Monday June 22nd, did a bit on Google Voice and claims that Google will begin issuing numbers to people on the waitlist this week. See the video after the break. Thanks to jigwashere for the tip.

According to PC World, Google snapped up 1 million phone numbers for use with its Google Voice service last month. Combine that with the recent CNET podcast Buzz Out Loud slip of the tongue that Google Voice would be launching to the public a few days ago (it obviously didn't), and evidence is growing that new members may soon be welcomed into the fold. The service has been closed to new members for some time, save for a few invites given out when Google Voice launched a few months ago to promote the product.

Google snatched up the internet telephony company GrandCentral some time ago, and rebranded it as Google Voice very recently. The primary feature is to allow you to consolidate all your phone numbers under a single number, but it's much bigger than that. There is a sophisticated routing technology that let's you have different people ring different phones even though they're all calling the same Google Voice number, and if it goes to google's voicemail, you can have different greeting messages for different groups. Google is also working on letting you port one of your current numbers to Google Voice to ease the transition. Other cool features include transcripts of your Google Voicemail, in case you don't have visual voicemail on your cell service yet, easy to use call recording, call conferencing, screening, blocking, and great SMS tech.

Why would you need it? Even with more number portability options these days than in the past, Google Voice gives you powerful and flexible control over your number that you wouldn't otherwise have. Moving? Getting rid of your landline? Picking up a prepaid phone overseas on vacation? Using a cheap prepaid here while you are inbetween phones and/or services? With Google Voice, you won't have to beg or plead with Customer Service reps, or scream and cuss at them once they screw up your requests. You won't have to call all your friends and family and give them a new or temporary number. You'll just log on and a few clicks later, you'll have seamlessly transitioned everything just how you want it, and the people trying to get a hold of you won't know anything changed. All that, a huge bag of Google perks too.

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