News just came from Google that current Google Voice users now have the ability to port their existing mobile phone number to their Voice account. This makes it easier for people to make this service their primary phone number.
Note the ‘mobile number’ and ‘current user’ clauses there. As of right now, those who are just joining Google Voice will have to wait a while for Google to offer them the service, but Google says it “will become available to new users within the next few weeks.”
Folks who were hoping to finally move their landline number over to Google’s service are also out of luck, as Google is offering no word on whether or not porting will become available for home phone numbers.
Google will charge $20 for the service, and people who opt to do away with their cellular number should be aware of the possibility of early termination fees from their provider.
Also, Google is not a cell phone carrier, so if someone ports their number and cuts ties with their old carrier they will still need to find a mobile service provider.
Google says that the port will usually be completed within 24 hours, and early porters have complained of some extended delay of text messaging service.
What is Google Voice?
Google Voice is a service that binds all of an individual’s numbers together. Cell, work, and home phones will all ring simultaneously when someone calls, and, if Gmail is open, it can be set-up to ring as well.
There is also a voicemail transcription feature, where voicemail messages are sent as an e-mail to the user. Google Voice also allows users to send and receive SMS messages, which are archived online in a searchable format.
There are versions of the Google Voice application for Google Android OS, Apple iOS, BlackBerry OS, HP webOS, and others.
Update: Brighthand forum user jigwashere recommended a nice workaround to my complaint that Google didn’t offer a way for users to port landline numbers into Google Voice. If anyone is inclined, here’s the advice: “While you can’t directly port a landline to GV, you could first port your landline number to a mobile number, then to GV.” If anyone tries this method out, please let us know how easy/worthwhile of an experience it was.