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June 25, 2009

Google Voice, Available in the US

Two years after acquiring GrandCentral, Google is about to open an updated version of the service to all US users. Google Voice is a free service that provides one number for all your phones, so you can add some features that help you manage phone calls: blocking calls, recording calls, answering from any of your phones, transcribing voicemail and more.

NBC reports that the service will start to be publicly available today and Google confirms the news: "Invites to people on reservations list starting to go out today." In March, Google Voice was released as an upgrade to the existing GrandCentral users and you could request an invitation using a form from Google's site.

Network World found that Google reserved one million phone numbers from Level 3, preparing for the public launch of the service. A major hurdle slowing the adoption of Google Voice is getting a new phone number, but Google tests a feature that allows users to port their existing numbers to the service.

Update: Apparently, Google Voice won't be publicly available, but you'll get an invitation if you've previously requested one. "We are happy to share that Google Voice is beginning to open up beyond former GrandCentral users. If you requested an invitation on the Google Voice site or previously on GrandCentral, keep your eye out for an invite email," says Google's blog.

{ via Lifehacker }


  1. There are no international DID which is not nice.

    Another drawback I sent GS feedback couple of years ago and they didnt fix it. From all SIP providers their "upgraded" service works only with Gizmo. This is not free communication!

    Overall not cool

  2. I wonder how far back in the queue my invite is? Waiting for like, over a year now!

  3. I wonder if this can/will be made seemless with Android phones?

    The big two I'm thinking of are: make a call from your Google Voice number, and have the phone use the Google voicemail box for its own visual voicemail messages.

  4. I'm watching my inbox with baited breath

  5. Go to Android Market and download GV. That will integrate it with your phone. I have not played with it yet, since I am still on the waiting list, but I downloaded it a month ago in anticipation.

  6. I'm in Canada, so all these Google announcements have ceased to mean anything to me. Why is it that the same internet companies that blather on about the global nature of the web always seem to think that the earth ends at the American border?

    I'd been waiting with bated breath for the much-vaunted G-Drive to appear, but I've long since given up on that too. What are the odds that anyone outside the continental US will have access to it?

  7. I am in Canada too, and yeah.. i dont' see us getting this any time soon,

    And i think is because of our wacky Phone laws in Canada, and constraints on our network.

    We are always way behind on anything mobile related, and pay way more for it too.

    gdrive.. that doesnt' really have anything to do with gvoice, but i don't see any reason why canada would be excluded.

  8. Canada? Way down here in Australia things like this are a long time coming, if ever, and US companies keep telling us about releases in 'the Fall' which here (and many other countries) call Autumn and is not at the same time of year (although still represented by yellowing leaves). Yes, it seems these global companies are all too much US-centric. Please don't follow M$ down the same internally focused path G00gle. BTW, I am looking forward to Wave, developed in Australia yet still presented with corny US accents...

  9. The Send SMS GMail Labs feature no longer seems to be available (for me at least). Perhaps the release of Google Voice has something to do with this?

  10. Hay what about India? Is this service going to release world wide who requested initially or only to US people? please let me know... I am very much eager to know weather its going to be release in India or not?

  11. So, SMS no longer works in gmail. Hmmmm At least for me and a friend of mine. It is gone from labs too. I wonder is google voice is about to be integrated.

  12. I think that it is obviously disappointing to see that what looks to become one of the best telephony service in the history of communication (somewhere after Wave) will only be available to the US to start with.

    To start with you say? Yeah...that's what I said. I remember reading an article that Google was in talks with Telefonica in Spain regarding Grand Central. I interpreted that as Google expanding the service (or at least evaluating expansion) to outside US borders.

    So, if this article was founded and that they do get a foot in Spain this means they are in the EU and EU regulation will allow this service to come forth, which clearly would be awesome! And who knows...Canada will probably be next as you guys are quite close to the US (geographically speaking that is ;-P)

    I guess we just need to be patient (and we all have learned to be since July 2007)...our time will come my friends...our time will come.

  13. So is there anyone with a invitation that could tell something about it?

    I'm getting tired of just hearing all these complains about that it's not working in your country.

  14. It's pretty cool. It's very basic, too. Not too many features, but enough to make it nice. I have a phone number with my area code - and it's the one I've been giving to people I don't trust with my number [since it pretty much is a forwarding number]

    SMS is a nice addon, I just wish there was an easier way to check it. I'm too cheap to pay for my own plan, so having free is pretty sweet

    any other questions?

  15. hey Douggie, thanks for the feedback! I heard stuff from the beginning ehrn they bought it, that you can use an online phonebook and organise things there like match ringtones to certain people and special voicemails to others...
    Is this already working? And can you so like statistics afterwards or old "phone records"

    I was also wondering if you can use google talk with it.. Thanks for actual info!

  16. I wish nobody would release anything until it runs on any OS, in any country, in any language, so that everybody can play with it and nobody has their feelings hurt by being left out.

    No, not really.

    As nice as that would be, countries don't make it practical. For instance, Canada, IIRC, requires telephone service providers to make local emergency services available through 911, which presents special challenges for VOIP.

    Also consider that one of Google Voice's prime features, automated voice transcription, would be poorly received by the general public in certain locales if Google Translation in the local language isn't up to par yet.

    There are probably myriad other reasons why providing a service like Google Voice in dozens of nations isn't quite as easy as adding international codes to the interface.

    Go ahead and urge Google to speed up their rollout, but please dial down the tone of outrage. You ask whether it's right that some are serviced before others, but is it more right to hold everyone back until all are onboard?

  17. Great news .Looking forward to use it .Partha

  18. It's really amazing if this will be made seemless with Android phones?

  19. Correction - This service is available for free to the contiguous 48 love for Hawaii and Alaska.

  20. I just got the invite... and no... it does not work for me as I am in Canada. cRaP!

    I wonder if they will keep my invite valid when it is finally available here.... keep me in the queue please!

  21. I have 3 invites - none of which will be of use to me as I will be leaving California for Alberta in a few weeks.

  22. It always BURNS me how political B.S. between U.S. and Canada prevents services like this from being available in Canada. It's CANADA, for crying out loud! It's not even a 'foreign' country, so to speak (we're joined in every way at the hip)!

    And an earlier comment was absolutely right about the phone rules in Canada, which are ludicrous in their restrictions, plus massively overpriced for what we get up here. That's Canada's on-the-fence 'we're socialist, but capitalist' stance for you!

    Can't wait 'till The Grid is done and done ... if and when universal wi-fi is available, I'm dropping Bell or Rogers or whatever monopoly exists, like 3rd period French. Truss.


  23. I'd like to see GV in Europe, too, but keep in mind that interconnection fees are handled differently in each region (country) of the world.

    If GV is going to forward your call to a different number, in some countries the reciepient of the call has to take over all associated costs. That seems to be true in the US. So there are no additional costs for Google in this case.

    In Central Europe, the originator for the call will be fully charged for the call. So if you have, let's say, a German/France/UK number from Google and you are forwarding your calls to landlines, mobiles, etc., Google would have to pay for it! So either it's about buying credits or about arrangements between Google and local providers.

    Another option would be using the ability of some carriers (those who are using NextGen networks instead of traditional INs) to forward calls via VOIP. So GV -> Carrier SIP GW -> Device. But that's not widespread in CE.


  24. Naidoo, you may be in luck. Area code 403 is the only Canadian area code that Google Voice supports. Go figure.

  25. People, I understand your frustration that Google voice isn't going to be launched in 'your country' right away. But do you have any clue how complex of an endeavor it is to bring something like this to market? Because of their scale, this thing is going to get absolutely clobbered as soon as it's online. Other posts have mentioned to legal and technical complexities in getting international telecommunication networks to play nice together. Then there is the complexity of Internationalizing and Localizing an application into multiple languages, supporting in multiple languages/locales, etc. Give these guys a break. They are a US-based company after all, so it makes sense they would launch in the US market first.

  26. In the US, the originating carrier pays for a call. Not sure how that would efect GV though. There's an FCC investigation going on about GV refusing to terminate on certin numbers. They sayn it's only around 100 numbers that GV calls a scam of charging extremely high fees.

  27. I just wish Google would communicate more. I don't want details but at least tell us which countries they are working on bringing online next with a small blurb of some of the dificulties expected for each country. Then we aren't left wondering and we know that progress is actually being made.

  28. i think its open now atlast after long invitation mode.

  29. You can use google voice in any country. Check this out:


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