Recently, the Google Voice service opened itself up to all users, after a long period of invitation-only testing. The service began its life in 2005 as GrandCentral, an early program that let users unify all their telephone numbers via the web.
Then Google bought GrandCentral, and after a period of apparent neglect, it unveiled Google Voice. This free phone service gives you a single number, and allows you to forward calls from that line to all your other phones.
Best of all, you can send and receive text messages from it – even without a phone – from its online portal at www.google.com/voice.
All of these services are completely free, giving users a way to completely bypass many cellular provider charges. For instance, with Google Voice and a 3G-activated smartphone, you never have to pay for text messages again.
Simply get a Google Voice account, log on and send your messages through your new number. You’ll need a data plan, of course, and an activated smartphone. But if you have those, you can easily get unlimited text messaging as well as the convenience of having one number that rings all of your phones AND is available through any computer
Not a bad deal, then. The only question is what aspect of daily life Google will move to dominate next.