Google Voice Works With The Number You Know And Love (Sort Of)


Google is banking on the move's appeal, even if it means some of Google Voice's most attractive features won't be available unless users choose the Google-provided number.

"Previously, when you created a Google Voice account, we asked you to select a new Google phone number. This allowed us to offer features like call forwarding, screening and recording. But we know not everyone wants to start using a new phone number, so we've been working on another option for people who are willing to trade some features for the ability to keep their existing number," wrote Google Voice Product Manager Pierre Labeau in a Google Voice Blog post late Monday.

Google has been promising a Google Voice update for users who want to keep their numbers for some time now. For Google Voice users who want to keep an existing number, the services are somewhat limited and include online voice-mail, automated voice-mail transcription, e-mail and SMS notifications, custom voice-mail greetings for different callers and, for a fee, international calling.

Using the number Google provides to Google Voice users adds SMS via e-mail, call screening, listen in, call recording, conference calling and the other features described by Google following the service's announcement earlier this year.

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The Google Voice service, which Google developed through technology gained through its acquisition of Grand Central, has lately spent more time in the news for federal regulatory scrutiny and its future on the iPhone instead of its own feature set.