Google Voice, formerly Grand Central, has released their first apps for mobile devices this morning. The applications, for the Blackberry OS and devices running Android, allow users to utilize their Google Voice service directly from their mobile phone, and ease some of the bigger difficulties involved with using the service.
Google Voice is a phone service, currently available by invitation only, that gives users more advanced control over their calls, voicemalls, and text messages. When you sign up you get to choose from tons of phone numbers in area codes all over the country. You can choose an area code and search their database of available numbers for specific text string (i.e. if you wanted your name in your number).
You then register all of your different phone numbers with the service and you can set up rules for certain groups in your contact list to ring certain phones. The service is particularly robust when it comes to managing voicemail. When someone calls you have the option of answering, sending them to voicemail, or sending them to voicemail, but listening in on their message. When users leave you voicemails, Google Voice takes the audio file and interprets into text and can then email it or send it to you in an SMS.
One of the biggest hurdles the service has been facing is the current lack of number portability. So you may give your Google Voice number out to people, but when you call or text someone, it shows up from the number of the phone you’re on. The new apps for Android and Blackberry fix that. They allow you to text and call directly from your Google Voice number. You can also check your voicemail (audio & text version) and view recent calls from the application.
For those of you who have Google Voice accounts already, the application is available at http://m.google.com/voice