Google Voice now lets you use your existing phone number... sort of

As a long time Google Voice user, this won't help me much. I've already converted all of my peeps over to my Google Voice number. As a dedicated nerd it was worth it to me to go through the hassle to move everyone over to the new number, and I did it as soon as Google bought GrandCentral, the predecessor service. The problem is that although a lot of people like what Google Voice has to offer, they don't want to jump the hurdle of moving all of their contacts to a new phone number. With it's latest announcement, Google Voice essentially removed the number one objection to adoption.

Google Voice is ready for you now

If your mobile phone is on one of the supported carriers (Alltel, AT&T, Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon) you can activate Google Voice for that number, forward your unanswered calls to Google Voice and receive many, but not all, of the features of Google Voice. Here's how they breakdown what does and doesn't work:

If you sign up for Google Voice with your existing number, you'll get:
  • Online, searchable voicemail
  • Free automated voicemail transcription
  • Custom voicemail greetings for different callers
  • Email and SMS notifications
  • Low-priced international calling

If you decide to also get a new Google number, you'll get all of the above PLUS:
  • One number that reaches you on all your phones
  • SMS via email
  • Call screening
  • Listen In
  • Call recording
  • Conference calling
  • Call blocking

While being able to port an existing number would be best, this new feature will be good enough for most. Most new users will say the voice mail transcription feature alone is worth the effort to switch.

About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.