Google Voice Opens to the Public

Google Voice, the telephony management application offered by Google, opened up to everyone in the United States on Tuesday, and with a gang of nifty management apps, 1 million people have already signed up for accounts.

One of the most exciting features is the ability to manage your voicemail online like e-mail. Users can change their SMS messages to e-mail, personalize their voicemails for particular callers, share voicemails and voicemail transcriptions via e-mail, and manage their international bills and payment all from a web-based page that looks like an e-mail server.

Users can also activate one number that will cause all of their phones—office, house, cell—to ring at once. 

Other features include free calls to the U.S. and Canada and low international calling rates, basic conferencing abilities, and the ability to screen callers, sending them to your voicemail, so you can listen to the message they are giving and determine whether you want to answer.

There is a mobile app that helps run the program on smartphones as well.

Users who want to use Google voice but do not wish to switch their phone numbers can get the service minus the one number that reaches all phones, SMS via e-mail, call screening and listen in, call recording, conference calling and call blocking. They will receive the online voicemail, free automated voicemail transcription, custom voicemail greetings for different callers, e-mail and SMS notifications, and international calling.