Google Voice officially launches to the public


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Google Voice, the search giant’s Web-based communication platform, has officially launched to the public.

Google Voice is arguably one of Google’s most ambitious services. The platform allows users to have a single number that will ring all of the user’s many land line and mobile phone numbers at once. If a caller leaves a voicemail, Google Voice creates an e-mail-like transcript to be viewed at another time. All calls placed in the U.S. and Canada are free. Users can even text-message from the service without a charge.


Over the last year, Google Voice has been available by invitation only. Google claimed at the time that it would limit use to ensure that the service would work well when it was unveiled to the public. After significant testing, creation of a Web-based tool for iPhone owners and tweaks to get Google Voice to accommodate a growing number of users, the free service is finally available to anyone who would like to sign up.

According to Google, there are now more than 1 million people using Google Voice. And although the service is free, Google has ulterior motives with Google Voice.

As the company points out in a recent blog post, it’s trying to combine ‘regular phone services with the latest Web technology.’ Google’s goal, it would seem, is to change the dynamic of the telecommunications business, in which it plays a key role with its Android operating system.

Whether it will be successful remains to be seen. There’s no telling right now if users want to have a single phone line to rule them all. And given the success of devices like the iPhone, it’s debatable how much users would really want to deal with another communications platform.

Keep a close eye on Google Voice. It could be a game changer or a flop. Time will tell.

-- Don Reisinger