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google voice new accountsGoogle Voice, formerly known as GrandCentral, has been a hot topic ever since its initial release on March 11, 2009. Because it is only available by invitation, and invitations aren’t easily attainable, its demand has remained quite high since the beginning.

Well, seek no further! We have a limited amount of invites to give away, so read on to find out more about Google Voice, and how to get your hands on an invite!

How Does Google Voice Work?

Google Voice is Google’s telecommunications service launched just this year. It is currently only available to the U.S., but I won’t be surprised to see it go worldwide eventually. You can use certain features with your existing phone number(s), or set up your own Google Voice number for free and have access to even more great features!

Use Google Voice with your Existing Phone Number

Most people, including myself, already use a well-established phone number and have no desire to change it. Luckily for us, Google offers certain features for use with an existing number, like Google Voicemail, voicemail transcription, the ability to share, download and embed voicemails, international calling at a highly discounted rate, custom greetings that can vary by caller, and more! Unfortunately, porting existing numbers is not yet available, although most everyone is requesting it from Google via their feedback forums.

Google Voicemail uses a platform that looks very similar to the Gmail inbox, which is nice for those who are already familiar with Gmail. Set up custom voicemail greetings for different callers or groups, or have one main greeting for everyone. When someone leaves you a message, Google Voice can automatically transcribe it and send it to you via email or SMS. You can also play the voicemail, or forward it to other people, embed it in a webpage, or download it to your hard drive!

how does google voice work

The transcription service works pretty well, too. At the very least, it will give you a good idea of what the caller wants. Of course, you’ll have certain people in your life that Google Voice just can’t transcribe, like people with strong accents, or in my case, my grandfather. Although you might think this would be annoying, I actually find myself looking forward to his voicemails now, thanks to the occasional hilarity of the transcription. Sometimes it will simply say “Transcript Not Available,” or it will transcribe it with some text in gray, indicating those words may not be accurate.

how does google voice work

The international calling feature is also a big plus. You can view the discounted rates from your Google Voice interface, and add calling credits from there as well. Calls to Canada are free, whereas other places like France, Italy, Germany and Hong Kong (to name a few) only cost $0.02 per minute!

how does google voice work

In addition to the main Help Forum, Google has provided a playlist of helpful videos outlining the services available to you when using Google Voice with your existing phone number.

Choose a Custom Phone Number for More Great Features

You can also set up your own Google Voice phone number to use with additional features like ringing a call to all of your phones, call blocking, the ability to record calls, free SMS services, call screening, the ability to move a call from cell phone to land line and vice versa, and more.

When choosing your Google Voice number, you have total freedom regarding what phone number you end up with. As long as it’s available in the database, it’s as good as yours!

google voice new accounts

With this number comes many additional features, like the ability to ring all of your phones, or only some of your phones, based on the caller. For example, you could have your wife’s calls ring to your home, cell and work phones, while your boss’s calls ring only to your work phone. You also have the ability to switch from land line to cell phone and vice-versa, while in the middle of a call, without having to hang up.

The call screening feature is another favorite of many users. You can set it up to ask unknown callers to state their name before deciding whether to take the call or send it to voicemail. You can even listen to voicemails as they’re being recorded and choose to take the call right then, or leave it to voicemail. If you have an annoying caller that just won’t leave you alone, you can elect to block the caller, and Google will play the standard “The number you have dialed is no longer in service” message next time a call comes in from that number.

Another great option is the ability to record incoming calls. Beware, though, that the caller will be alerted when you start and stop recording, so there’s no easy way to record secretly! The recording will be stored in your Google Voice account, and from there, you can email, embed or download it.

Google also published a playlist showcasing these features, along with a few others, for use with your Google Voice number.

Want an Invite?

google voice new accountsWe have 100 invites to give away to 100 lucky readers, so be sure to request your invitation now, as I’m sure they will go quickly! UPDATE : We have no more invites!

To request an invite, simply send an email to april+voiceinvites@makeuseof.com with the email address you’d like the invitation sent to in the body of the message.

Double check that the email address you provide is accurate! Google will be responsible for sending the invitations, so please note that I have no control over when you will receive it. When we run out of invites, we will announce it here.

Editor’s note: Please do not submit any requests in the comments. We will only entertain invitation requests sent via email to the specified address above.

If you missed out on this particular opportunity, you can still request an invite directly from Google by visiting their Request an Invite page. When I requested mine back in August, it took about a month to receive it, which was actually sooner than I expected, so don’t worry! They say they are working through them as quickly as they can.

Here are a few similar phone-related services we’ve reviewed in the past:

10 Sites to Send Free Text Messages to Cell Phones (SMS) 10 Sites To Send Free Text Messages To Cell Phones (SMS) 10 Sites To Send Free Text Messages To Cell Phones (SMS) Read More
15 Free Useful Services to Access from Your Phone
Phonevite – Blast Out Voice Messages to Your Team for Free Phonevite - Blast Out Voice Messages To Your Team For Free Phonevite - Blast Out Voice Messages To Your Team For Free Read More
PrivatePhone: FreePrivate Phone Number
MessageSling: Store & Manage Your Voicemail Messages Online

Do you know of any unique ways to utilize Google Voice?  Let us know in the comments!

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  1. emily
    January 31, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I still need a Google voice invitation, anyone please send it to my email :

    • emily
      January 31, 2010 at 7:52 am

      I still need a Google voice invitation, anyone please send it to my email : mangleeas1@gmail.com

  2. Mike
    January 31, 2010 at 12:06 am

    I would like an invite please

  3. Whitney
    January 15, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I am pleading for someone to send me a GOOGLE VOICE INVITE. I've been seeking one for months because it'll really help my business out. Please send to wroberts88@hotmail.com or wroberts88@gmail.com THANK YOU in advance

  4. rinto
    January 11, 2010 at 9:19 am

    I still need a Google voice invitation, anyone please send it to my email : rintomedia (a) gmail. com

  5. rony
    January 2, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    pls give me a invitation,ths!

  6. zzillaster
    January 1, 2010 at 5:49 am

    ive been looking for invites.. pls if any of you guys send me a invite it would be really great
    thanks

  7. Soso
    December 22, 2009 at 8:05 am

    is there any invitation for me ?

  8. Nathan
    December 7, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    The main problem with GV is that you have to give your new number out to people. It would be so much better if you could have your existing number be your GV number.

    • April Dee
      December 8, 2009 at 9:12 am

      Most Google Voice users agree, Nathan. The best thing to do is let Google know at their Google Voice Feedback Forum! Look under the "Helpful Additions" area.

  9. Lawrence
    December 7, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I managed to sign up before the strikethrough. So when do we get the invites? Did I miss the deadline??

    Anyways, you guys rock, definitely making me visit this site more and more everyday.

    • April Dee
      December 7, 2009 at 1:37 pm

      I will be sending an email within the next day or so to everyone who made the list, so if you receive it, you'll be getting an invite!

  10. Nick
    December 7, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I just read this post and I wanted to try out Google voice and just checked it again and there were no more invites!

    But oh well, the features look really cool.

    I'm sure i'll get an invite someday soon.

  11. April Dee
    December 7, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Shawn, many people have been wondering that as well. There is a lengthy discussion about it on the Google Forums here. One guy even said that when he visited the states and signed up for GV from there, he was able to get it to work with his Canadian numbers. His post is toward the bottom. Keep checking our site, because if I'm able to find a good workaround, I'll publish an article on it!

    • Shawn
      December 7, 2009 at 1:27 pm

      Thank you for the speedy reply and I hope it opens up soon!!

  12. Shawn
    December 7, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I wonder when they plan on rolling out the service to Canada... anyone have any ideas when that might happen?

    • Aibek
      December 7, 2009 at 11:50 am

      They are still limiting invites within US so I think it will take a while before they expand to Canada. I would say at least another year.