Is the public debut of Google Voice just around the corner?

Is the public debut of Google Voice just around the corner?

Summary: When I take a call on my "office number," I usually end up giving a quick two-minute explanation of Google Voice, the company's virtual phone service.I hate to come across like a sales guy for any tech product but I have to say that people who call me on my Google Voice number are intrigued by the service and I tend to get pretty excited about it, as well.

SHARE:

When I take a call on my "office number," I usually end up giving a quick two-minute explanation of Google Voice, the company's virtual phone service.

I hate to come across like a sales guy for any tech product but I have to say that people who call me on my Google Voice number are intrigued by the service and I tend to get pretty excited about it, as well. Seriously, it is probably one of the biggest breakthrough technologies to hit the telecommunications industry since call waiting or the arrival of the cell phone. And now, it seems that the service may be getting to roll out to the public.

ZDNet blogger Garett Rogers pointed out in a post over the weekend that Google has reserved one million phone numbers from Level 3 Communications, an indication that it's gearing up for a big rollout of accounts.

Google Voice, for the unfamiliar, allows users to use a virtual number that can be programmed to ring at any number of the user's choosing - home, office, cell or even temporarily at the in-laws place in the country where cell phone service is hit-and-miss, at best. It also allows users to send and receive SMS messages through the number and offers voicemail transcription services that can be delivered to users via e-mail or SMS text message.

In my case, I use a Google Voice number as my work number, programming it to ring simultaneously on my office, mobile and home numbers. I've also programmed calls to go directly to voicemail during the evening and weekend hours when I'm technically "off the clock."

The service has been in private beta since it changed from Grand Central, the name of the company that Google acquired back in 2007, to Google Voice back in March. The service is free and Google hasn't had much to offer in details about how it plans to monetize the service. It's already pretty powerful but I know I'd be willing to pay extra for some premium and customization services, such as fax support or the ability to add a second phone number to the account (one for work purposes and another for friends and family.

TechCrunch reported earlier this month that Google is testing number portability as a option, which would allow users to move an existing phone number - such as the home or cell number - to Google Voice, instead of getting a fresh number and sharing that with others.

It's tough to say when Google will unleash the service. But when it does, watch out for the mad rush of sign-ups. The service has received rave reviews and plenty of folks I've come across are excited about getting a Google Voice number of their own.

Topics: Software, Apple, Enterprise Software, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Operating Systems, Wi-Fi

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

4 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Google Earth

    I have uploaded to Speedy Share some Google Earth KMZ files.These files when double left clicked call up various locations on the Earth.I have titled these locations as I have perceived them to be.The KMZ files are in a zip folder.If the zip folder is placed on the Desktop a right click of the folder will allow you to Extract All to the desktop.
    http://earth.google.com/
    http://www.speedyshare.com/900597135.html
    BALTHOR
    • WTF? Don't click on links!!!

      I am not going to click on your speedyshare link as I am at work and it looks like spam, considering Google Earth has nothing to do with this article. I don't know what this crap is, but if it does lead to some kind of spam or malware, the user's IP needs attacked.
      MadWhiteHatter
  • RE: Is the public debut of Google Voice just around the corner?

    I must be more sensitive than most to the latency inherent in Google Voice's VoIP-based capability. I have been a beta user since the Grand Central days, and I am nervous about giving my GV number out as my primary business number due to these call quality concerns. I also find I cannot reliably answer GV calls on my secondary VoIP line if my home phone line is already engaged. The VoIP line simply doesn't ring each time.
    rcuff
  • RE: Is the public debut of Google Voice just around the corner?

    I have been using it since beta too, and I have loved it. My business cards have the number on it and it is the only number I give out to people that I consider friends. In my offices, and in the other offices of my clients, we aren't allowed to carry a cell. Because of how mobile I am, it has been just a fabulous service to have. I have seen a competitor on the market already, but the service costs money. If Google Voice will require me to pay to keep the service, I probably will as long as the cost is reasonable.
    MadWhiteHatter