First look at Google Voice

I received my invite for Google Voice this week – this is Google’s attempt to get even further into the cell phone market, but providing G-mail like service for phone customers. You get a new phone number with the service, and you can link all of your other phone numbers into this single number. Plus there are scads of features.

Now, as I said, there are a lot of cool features that come with Google Voice – you can save voicemails on line, they can be transcribed to text, you can save and label and store them like you would e-mails… really great stuff that, frankly, you have to wonder why T-Mobile or Verizon didn’t think to do themselves.

You’ll also notice the “Balance” section at the bottom of the left rail. That is the money you can pay in for long distance calls. (National calls are free. Woo hoo!)

The tricky part will be getting people to give out their Google Voice number instead of their own phone number. I’m not likely to change my resume to reflect the new GV number just yet, but I’ll beta test it on my own by giving it out to friends and see how it feels.

Frankly, if this works out, I will definitely consider using this full time and cutting back my cell phone’s plan to the cheapest possible. After all, I have to pay the $30 data plan either way – if my minutes are free on Google but are charged for by T-Mobile, why wouldn’t I?

If you remember the fun of ten years ago as record companies learned how heartily they could get shelacked by on line music pirates, get ready for part two – only this time it will be about phones, and the ability to finally place a call for free over a broadband network.

In the meantime I will play with this a bit more and let you know how it works out.

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