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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Google marches deeper into telecom turf

Google on Tuesday made it more tempting for people to try its nascent Voice service that lets users merge home, office and mobile phone into a single number.

People can keep their current mobile telephone numbers and "still get many of Google Voice's features," product managers Craig Walker, Vincent Paquet, and Pierre Lebeau said in the blog post.

Previously, it was required to switch to a "Google number" to get Voice services. Those that switch to Google numbers get a richer array of features, including cheap international calling and merging home, office, and mobile telephones.

"We know not everyone wants to switch to a new phone number," Walker, Paquet, and Lebeau said in the post.

"So, it made sense to create a lighter version of Google Voice for people who are willing to trade some features for the ability to use their existing numbers."

Google Voice can take voicemail messages, playing them back on demand or converting them into transcripts delivered by email or SMS.

Voice is in an invitation-only test mode in the United States. Invitations can be requested online at services.google.com/fb/forms/googlevoiceinvite/.

"Google Voice is about giving you more control over your communications," Walker, Paquet, and Lebeau said. "We hope this new option makes it easier for you to manage your messages and personalize your voicemail experience."

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