Google Voice Starts to Open Up

By  |  Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 11:54 am

Google VoiceBetas of Google services are legion, but Google Voice‘s beta has gotta be one of the most suspenseful of them all: In the two years since Google bought the service formerly known as GrandCentral, it’s restricted access to folks who were using GrandCentral at the time of the acquisition.

It has, however, allowed interested parties (of whom there are scads) to get on a waiting list for invitations–and today it announced that it’s beginning to let in new users who have requested invite codes. That’s great news, since Google Voice is among Google’s coolest services, and it rates extemely high on the “I can’t believe they’re providing this for free” meter. (I’m lucky enough to have signed up during the brief period when GrandCentral was in an entirely public beta.)

The service does so many phone-related things that it’s hard to explain briefly, so I’ll embed Google’s own explanatory video:’

Google still isn’t opening up the floodgates by simply allowing anyone to show up at Google voice, register, and immediately begin using it, and today’s announcement doesn’t address when that might happen. Given that the service must be among the company’s more demanding ones from a scalability standpoint–and involves a somewhat scarce resource in the form of the phone numbers that are doled out–it may be a while before Voice is easily available to everyone who’d like to try it. I’ll choose to look on the bright side and be impressed by the patience Google is showing in keeping the service semi-private until it’s absolutely, positively sure it’s ready for prime time.

Google also doesn’t seem to be saying how quickly it’ll release those invites. If you applied for one, let us know if you have (or haven’t) been ushered in…and what you think of the service.



15 Comments For This Post

  1. Dan Says:

    I signed up for an invite over 20 minutes ago, and still no invite!!

    This service is dead to me now!!

  2. Keith Says:

    I have been on the list for almost a year now. No invite as of yet. Waiting patiently. Kind of.

  3. Mark Says:

    I signed up for Grandcentral’s beta (before it was bought by Google) and apparently that list transferred over to Google and I still haven’t received an invite.. 🙁

  4. jimmy46 Says:

    I wonder how will they sustain the “free status”?
    Advertising-the obvious guess or may be something else.

  5. Dan Says:

    Still waiting…. Google Voice is a tease! Stop teasing!

  6. Josh Says:

    As soon as Google announced they were working on Google Voice several months ago I used the “request an invite” feature on their homepage. Not a peep from them yet, although I suspect it will be awhile…unfortunately.

  7. JAWS Says:

    Been a user since the very early GC days. LOVE IT!!!

  8. Keith Says:

    Got my invite today! Setting up right now. Some issues connecting with the phone numbers I want to forward to. Connected to my cell on the second attempt but have had no luck with my home phone as of yet. I like what I see so far. Can’t wait to put it into use.

  9. Alex Luft Says:

    I got my invite a few months ago, but I have to say that I don’t use it that much. The idea behind it is great – one number to rule all your other numbers. But I just don’t know if I’d put in the effort to tell all my friends, family members, and colleagues that I’ve changed numbers.

    And then, of course, there is that whole ownership thing. Google owns my phone number if I use Google Voice, so if I wanted to switch… I’d be SOL.

  10. Kevin Says:

    I made my request a LONG time ago, but still no invite yet. Crazy.

  11. Daniel Says:

    The Google app for iPhone includes voice searching. Presumably using the same service as a back-end.

  12. jimmy46 Says:

    I wonder If Google see this as to improve its voice recognition technology?

  13. Rob Says:

    I signed up on the list years ago. Even so, I doubt I’ll get an invite because Google probably doesn’t have phone numbers in my area. I don’t live in a major metropolitan area.

  14. GT3 Says:

    Got an invite code. Went to activate about a day after receiving (as I was traveling at the time, and decided not to setup via my iPhone), and was told that my invitation code was invalid. So I requested a new one. Here’s hoping it works (and that I’m fast enough to get it, assuming that was the problem).

  15. Paul Says:

    I want a google voice invite. does anybody have?? I can give $5 on his google balance