For the past few weeks, Google has been quietly sending out invitations for its Google Voice service, which the company announced in March.
On Tuesday, Google announced mobile apps for BlackBerry and Android devices that will allow users to more easily manage their Google Voice accounts.
Previously, to place a call using Google Voice, users had to dial their own Google Voice number from their cell phone or use the Quick Call button online. With the new mobile app, users can make calls and send SMS messages with their Google Voice number directly from their mobile phone. The app is fully integrated with each phone’s contacts, so users can call via Google Voice straight from their address book.
Additionally, the new application allows users to access their voicemail, read message transcripts, follow along with "karaoke-style" playback of messages, read SMS messages sent to their Google Voice number and access all of their call history.
Google bought GrandCentral Communications, an Internet-based voice service, back in July of 2007. Since then, it’s been using GrandCentral as a starting point for the evolution of Google Voice.
The new service provides users with one life-long “uni-number” that links to all of the user’s other phone numbers (such as landline, cell, work, hotel). One call to that single Google Voice number can ring a handful of lines.