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Google Voice ports your own number for $20

If the thought of getting a new cell phone number has deterred you from signing on to Google Voice, a new $20 porting fee may make you change your mind.

Google Voice, porting
For $20, you may be able to take your phone number with you to Google Voice. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

One of Google Voice's stickiest conditions is beginning to unstick, thanks to a new, very quietly rolled-out feature that lets you port your own phone number to Google Voice.

Google Voice, porting
If you see this in your Google Voice account settings, you may be eligible for porting. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Previously, signing on to Google Voice meant searching for a new Google Voice number to pass along to (and confuse) family and friends. A call forwarding feature let you give Google Voice the blessing to handle the voice mail attached to your mobile number, but porting was frustratingly not an option, to the chagrin of all of us CNET users as well.

Now, you may see the words "Change/Port" in the Settings of your Google Voice account. Click it to begin the process of entering your beloved number, and Google will assess if it's eligible for porting to Google Voice. Unlike the rest of Google's telephony service, porting isn't free, and you can only make payment on the $20 fee through Google Checkout.

Just keep in mind that jumping ship on any current mobile contract will incur your carrier's wrath in the form of early termination fees. Therefore, port wisely, young Googlers.

[Via Engadget]