The first batch of invites to Google's phone service, known as Project Fi, are on the way. That's the good news. Make sure you read all of the details before you accept an invite though: The bad news is that you'll give up a few great features from Google Voice if you switch to Project Fi.
A Reddit member shared images of the Project Fi sign up process after receiving an invite and this picture in particular illustrates what Google Voice features go away when you choose Google's new phone service:
It doesn't appear through the sign up process that there's a way to switch back from Project Fi to Google Voice either, although Google could have a provision for that in the future. The company is clear, however, that if you don't migrate your Google Voice number to its new service, that number will be released.
I have a custom Google Voice number -- I paid extra for it years ago -- and many of my contacts already have and use that to reach me. So if I switch to Project Fi, I'll surely port my Google Voice number to the service.
I still think Project Fi has potential for disruption in the cellular industry. It's not about the price, however, which starts at $20 a month plus $10 per GB of LTE data with a credit for unused service. Instead, the disruption is in the multiple coverage networks between Wi-Fi, T-Mobile and Sprint, plus the seamless transition between the three.
After building up Google Voice through the years and later integrating it with Google Hangouts though, some may not be willing to give up on Google Voice for that benefit. You'd be taking a chance that Project Fi has staying power and expands well beyond the Nexus 6; the only phone currently supported for the service.
That's a big bet to ask people to make on Google's part, many of which already feel a little stung by Google Voice not reaching its full promise. Instead, Google Voice functionality slowly migrated into other Google products. And with Project Fi, it appears to be going away entirely.
On the plus side, Project Fi does support some of the same useful features Google Voice offers: You'll be able to make calls and send text messages from multiple devices with Google's new service. Even so, it looks like there's no going back to Google Voice if you decide to make this move.