The much-anticipated Google Voice service is now available to more people. Yesterday, Google began sending out invites to those who have been requesting access to the free service. In May, Google reportedly reserved 1 million phone numbers through Level 3 Communications, which caused many people to speculate that a public launch was imminent. While the announcement does not signify a completely open, public launch, it does allow more users to enjoy the service.
Google Voice, formerly known as Grand Central, lets users to unify all their phone numbers under one single number. All calls can be routed through that single number and can simultaneously ring home, work, or mobile phones. Voice also contains advanced voicemail features that include message transcripts. You can sign up for your invite here.
In the short amount of time since Google’s announcement, Google Voice has already received criticism. Some oppose the new number that is created since outbound calls may not be recognized by friends and colleagues. Privacy concerns have also been raised since Google has the ability to access all voice conversations and voicemail. For Gmail users however, this is nothing new since Google can already access similar information.
What about you? Do these concerns worry you? Or do the concerns seem small when you calculate the convenience of Google Voice into the equation?