Up until Thursday, only GrandCentral users had access to Google Voice. The service is now open to people who had previously requested an invite to try the beta version.
On its blog, Google said it is still inviting would-be users to apply for the service, and expects to open up the free Google Voice service to more invitees on June 25.
"Once you receive your invitation, just click on the link and follow the instructions to [set up] your new Voice account," wrote To help you find a Google number that is personalized to you, we've added a number picker that lets you search by area code and text. See if you can find a number that contains your name, a specific word or a number combination."
Google Voice routes calls to one number for those who have multiple phones, and choose a personalized phone number. Users can also use a "listen-in" option that lets you listen before taking a call The service also features call blocking and screening, voicemail transcripts, SMS, call conferencing and international calls.
Right now, it remains to be seen how Google Voice will fare over its main competitor Skype. On forum.skyp.com, Skye users were enthusiastic about Google Voice, and also complained about Skype, in general.
"I have both Skype and Google Voice at this time, I got in on Google Voice early on," wrote one commentator. "Here's my assessment. At least in my case, Skype sound quality is awful. Since I use the service for business, I can't afford this sort of service. Moreover, the system hangs up on me during some calls. It's not dependable. I pay $30 per year. That's not much. But, compared to Google Talk, it's not good. I expect I'll drop Skype when my subscription expires late this year and go totally with Google Voice. I expect Google Voice will add many great features going forward. I think it's just great."
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