updated 07:25 am EDT, Tue October 27, 2009
Google Voice light service with voicemail
Google on Tuesday rolled out a new version of Google Voice for those that don't want to change their phone numbers. Rather than route calls through a central number, the new tier uses Google Voice solely to provide visual voicemail for existing phone service. As before, messages are saved as files online and also converted into text so they can be heard or read online.
The feature doesn't preclude checking usual voicemail and also doesn't lock the messages to Google; if a customer switches carriers, the messages follow as well.
The lighter-duty option reinforces Google's view of Voice as a pseudo-VoIP service and comes amidst plans for an FCC investigation prompted by AT&T, which has accused Google of running a full phone service that violates common carrier rules by not completing calls to some rural areas or toll phone numbers. AT&T has also tried to use the complaint as a bargaining chip, arguing that Google has to be held to phone network standards if AT&T has to allow VoIP on its cellular network.