Google Voice now open to all in U.S.

The Web-based call-forwarding and voice mail translation service has been invitation-only for the past year and a half, but no longer.

Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.
Tom Krazit
Google Voice
Anyone interested in Google Voice can now sign up to use the service. Google

Google Voice is ready for the masses.

Google plans to lift the invitation-only policy for Google Voice as of 10 a.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, said Craig Walker, product manager for Google Voice, in an interview prior to the launch. Over 1 million people are actively using Google Voice at the moment, but Google hadn't wanted to launch the service more widely until it was sure it had enough infrastructure in place to support a larger user base, he said.

Google Voice lets users give out one phone number that will ring their desk phones, home phones, or cell phones when the number gets called. It also translates voice mail into text and allows users to place calls from a Web-based Google Voice console.

Walker wouldn't comment on how many users Google expects to sign up now that access is wide open, but said "we wouldn't be launching if we didn't have a lot of headroom and excess capacity to handle the growth." Google Voice is a U.S.-only service at the moment; international expansion is on Google's radar but it's a complicated problem due to different standards, laws, and costs around the globe, Walker said.

The Google Voice site should be processing new registrations as of 10 a.m., let us know if you encounter any difficulty.