Google Voice Now Open

Update 8/26: You can now make calls from your Gmail interface even without a Google Voice account, but the two services play well together (North America only for free calls; international calls originating from the US are cheaper than the very cheap service I currently use). Here are some useful and less-useful tips and tricks from Lifehacker.

If you live in the US, Google Voice is now open to everyone. I wrote about it before, but now you don’t need an invitation to use it. By the way, if you’re US-based but working overseas, it might still be worth getting if you have a friend in the US who could activate it for you–it’ll give you a US number you can use for web-based texting (you can get the texts in e-mail) and voice mail, so friends and family can call you and leave messages on their own schedule. You’d get an e-mail with a link to the recording and a transcription (when it works). It might be great in an emergency, for people with totally incompatible schedules, and for relatives who don’t do e-mail. As I mentioned before, it’s really an amazing thing for private tutors and “freeway flyers” with 3 different work numbers, too.

Anyway, Lifehacker has done a good job writing about it in the past as well as now that it’s open:

Now, I haven’t really noticed the lag that they mention, but I have had 1 call out of the calls that a client has made to me not go through, and 1 other call was garbled so badly that I couldn’t hear him. That was during the beta test, though, so I’m hoping that things are better now. It really has made life easier, and my husband uses it all the time so that his students can call him (he’s a part-time community college teacher) and text him (they mostly prefer texting to e-mail). It lets him communicate with them on both their terms and his terms (he hates texting, but typing on a keyboard is fine). He turns the number’s setting to ring when he’s on campus, but it’s generally on Do Not Disturb (straight to voice mail) when he’s at home, unless something special is going on.

Anyway, if you’re already interested and you want to give it a try, go to






3 responses to “Google Voice Now Open”

  1. Jen Avatar

    There are only nine numbers available in my zip code? Holy cow. That’s interesting. What if more than nine people want to sign up?

  2. Clarissa Avatar

    Huh, my own comment vanished. :/ I was going to say that I wonder if they’ve all been taken, or they just weren’t able to get many there. There were so many in my area code that I was able to choose one that was easy to remember.

    I hope they’re not just assuming that everyone else has either free long distance or Google Voice themselves (so that it doesn’t really matter).

  3. Jen Avatar

    My guess is (honestly) that since I live out in the boonies, they don’t have full coverage in my area quite yet. When I moved here, there was no way to get high-speed internet, not even via your cable company. And that was just five and a half years ago.

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