Tuesday Google announced that it opened the gates to Google Voice, allowing the general public to fully access its VoIP communications platform. Previously Google Voice was locked as an invite-only service.
For the uninitiated, Google Voice provides users one phone number that can ring multiple phones, whether it's a mobile phone or land-based. Google Voice also provides web-based voicemail that acts like email, low-priced international calls, and free calls and texts within the United States.
"We’re proud of the progress we’ve made with Google Voice over the last few years, and we’re still just scratching the surface of what’s possible when you combine your regular phone service with the latest web technology," the company said. "It’s even more amazing to think about how far communication has come over the last couple hundred years."
To use the service, consumers will need to set up a Google account. The initial setup--albeit a little overwhelming--allows the user to pick a pre-generated phone number that will be used as the main point of contact--whoever dials up the Google Voice number will be forwarded to the phones listed in the account.
As for the voicemail portion, there's still some work needed on the speech-to-text aspect. When missed callers leave a voicemail, an SMS text message is sent to the user's cellphone with a rough translation and a link to the "email" version. Those who installed the Google Voice mobile phone app can even listen to the voice message anywhere, anytime.
As Google said above, they've just scratched the surface with Google Voice. Users can make calls and send SMS text messages right from the browser, and the Google Voice app will even allow users to make calls without eating precious, costly minutes.
To learn more or to set up your free account, head here.