For those of you who have not heard of the new service Google has in beta, they are offering a free service that will give all users their own 2nd phone number. This number allows both incoming AND outbound telephone calls for free. They also have very low cost international rates ($0.03 - $0.25 per minute). Currently this service is only being offered in the United States. All US Calls are UNLIMITED and FREE.
Unfortunately this service is currently being offered on an invite only program. Unfortunately for me this meant a 6 month wait for my invite to be approved. However the wait was worth it, I will be posting my reviews in this thread as I use it a bit more.
Initial Sign Up (After the 6 month wait)
The initial sign up could not have gone any smoother. I had my account fully set up and activated within 3 minutes. All users are required to have their own telephone number to route calls to. During the setup you will also be able to choose your "Google Phone Number". You can specify an area code and even choose a word to use as part of the number. In my case I choose (305)-929-DISK as my Google Telephone Number. This is great because it is now branded to my company.Placing Telephone Calls
There are several ways to place telephone calls; they offer a very intuitive web based interface, mobile interface and even a IVR based Interface. I was very impressed with all 3 options.Receiving Telephone Calls
Telephone calls can be routed to any telephone number that you control. In my case, I have the calls being routed to my cell phone and my desk phone (it rings both).Voicemail
This is where Google Shines. They offer their own Voicemail System with UNLIMITED Storage. Aside from the infinite storage, they even offer the ability to listen to the voicemail online as well as on your telephone. If that is not enough, they even have a "Speech to Text" service that will convert your message to text and e-mail or SMS the transcript to you. All Voicemail Features are UNLIMITED and included for FREE.
In conclusion, I just want to say how happy I am with the Google Service. I have only had this active for 5 hours, but so far I am very impressed with this free service from Google. It was definitely worth the 6 month waiting list. You can sign up by going to http://google.com/voice