Google Voice Now Open To The Public

Gosh, it’s been almost 3 years since Google bought GrandCentral and transformed it into Google Voice, a service that lets you set up a phone number that can ring multiple phones. It’s been invite-only ever since, but today Google opened up registration to public. (U.S. only, sorry.)

You can do lots of neat stuff with it, including forwarding calls to different phones based on who is calling you.

Personally, my favorite feature is voicemail transcripts. They’re not perfect, but when someone was randomly calling me and speaking Icelandic (during that whole volcano air travel clusterf*ck) — my god were they funny.

Google Voice For Everyone [Google]

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  1. bigmil87 says:

    Aw disappointing, I’m no longer a special person that has this, I’m back to average person that has everything Google.

    • The Marionette says:

      Just like your every day life.

    • nojok3 says:

      I still have Google Wave!!!

      • hereisaaron says:

        I LOVE my google Voice account. I use one number all day, everyday. I give the same number to friends, family, business contacts, colleagues. I can group my contacts and each of them hears a different voicemail greeting… and if someone gives out my number to someone I don’t want calling me, I can set that number to not even ring my phone. I only get “spam” calls from any given number once and then it’s blocked forever.

  2. Doncosmic says:

    Figures, they finally sent me my invite a week ago

    • Winfield says:

      They sent me an invite last week too.

    • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

      Invite-Only in Google terms means that a Google User (not the company) has Invited you. That’s supposedly how you originally got a gmail address in the beginning. Now, I have no idea. It’s all crap.

  3. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    this is from march, when a friend called me after i sent her a text message saying the house had been burgled and the cops were there and wanted to know who she was since she had a house key

    [i have no idea how it put catastrophegirl in there, since this was real life and she used my name which has 2 syllables and isn't nearly similar]

    ” Okay. Hey, I just hello more cops encompasses X. He said he stuck on that it shows. Hey catastrophegirl, So I’m sorry. Happy day s possible I would just give me a call back later, okay. Jeffrey later. Yeah. So fascinates just Deters, I work. Talk to you soon interest. Hello Mister ha ha ha ha ha ha this is just drugs spouse. I work with your scooter. Okay, bye delivery later funny good day. Yeah any them. “

    yeahs, so… it recognized “cops” and that’s the only part of the transcript even close to the actual voice message.

  4. Gruppa says:

    I recommend everyone go make an account. The control you have over your number is so much fun. It’s also amusing to watch the voice-to-text be completely off when someone leaves a voicemail.

  5. Champs says:

    If there’s anywhere that the transcription is beyond amazing, it’s when the “caller” is another computer. They should really cut out the intermediate steps and speak computerese.

  6. DAK says:

    I got my invite last week, and unless something has changed, there’s no option to basically “quit” Voice. Once you’re signed up, it requires at least 1 valid number. The only way to get out is to delete your Google account entirely. Something about that bothers me.

    • operator207 says:

      I have in the past deleted the phone number my GV calls. Or at least unauthorized it.

      Or you could simply turn off the call transfer to your phone.

    • Andy S. says:

      1. Create a new Google email account.
      2. Sign up for Voice using the new account.
      3. Assign the old number to new account.
      4. Delete new account.

      Yes, you’re left with a Google Voice account but it no longer has any number associated with it.

  7. TardCore says:

    Since I no longer have a landline I always use my voice account to place craigslist ads, put on applications etc. It’s great when people don’t have access to your “real” number.

  8. Fantoche_de_Chaussette says:

    So, your Google Voice number becomes the only one you give to friends and family.

    And then something happens to whichever data center Google runs this service from.

    Then what? Especially if whatever took out Google is also affecting you (think hurricane, or 9/11-type incident). How will people reach you?

    I’m fine with trusting me e-mail to Google. They’re good at it, and even if they lose it, not a huge deal.

    But when it comes to phone service, I’d rather stick with the folks who have a century of experience keeping the network running under adverse conditions. And the folks who have an enforceable, paid contract with me to provide service.

    • TardCore says:

      Yeah because AT&T is super reliable!! I only use my voice number for strangers or businesses I don’t want bothering me. Which is about 25% of the time.

    • spinceoli says:

      “So, your Google Voice number becomes the only one you give to friends and family.”

      Don’t do this. It’s not that difficult to give them both as a failsafe.

    • The Marionette says:

      you do realize that cellphone services (from actual companies) are capable of going down during storms/hurricanes/etc as well, right?

    • evnmorlo says:

      A disaster will take out your phone service no matter who your carrier is. And while Google’s service is new, Google hires some of the best minds in the country while the phone company… not so much.

  9. C. Ogle says:

    Gah… they finally sent me an invitation 3 days ago! I was just figuring out how to use the service… now everybody and their dog will have it. And I’ll need to get it for *my own* dogs too.

  10. Razor512 says:

    Been using it for about 2 years and it has improved a lot, the transcriber is really good, better than any other that I have seen. keep in mind that most transcribers require you having to read like 50 pages or more of text to them to reach advertised accuracy. the google transcriber gets that accuracy with no training at all. I have tried calling my self and playing recordings of people talking with background noise and also fast talking people and people with thick accents and even clips from cartoon shows and it handled everything extremely well.

    It doubles as a answering machine and has a crap ton of features.

  11. VonAether says:

    Google, “US only” is not “everyone.”

    Canadians (who were able to sign up just fine back when it was GrandCentral) are still waiting for our invites.

  12. webweazel says:

    Isn’t anybody going to mention the free long distance calls with GV? Right from the house phone itself? We have a landline and the cheapest long distance plan on the planet. Our LD bills were hovering around $20/month. Most of that was from INTRA-state LD, which costs more than true LD. Since we started using GV, our LD bills have been below $2/month ever since.
    That, to me, is the numero uno selling point for getting GV for those who still have landlines and LD plans!

  13. evilpete says:

    I find GV numbers great for dealing with collection agencies or marketing types that collect and sell you contact info.

  14. aikoto says:

    As with all Google services, I probably won’t use it and recommend others think twice. Google has abysmal privacy policies so remember everything you say is likely going to become part of your Google profile.

  15. aikoto says:

    As with all Google services, I probably won’t use it and recommend others think twice. Google has abysmal privacy policies so remember everything you say is likely going to become part of your Google profile.

  16. DaveTKoenig says:

    We had a bunch of fun with Google Voice on our podcast… thecommercials DOT tv if you’re interested.