Google Voice is Out of Beta, Already Being Sued

If you’re not one of the 1 million people who managed to snag an invite for Google Voice, and thought a few hundred dollars for an Android phone was a tad expensive to get past the invite-only entrance, the gates are now open (if you’re in the US , anyway).

Google Voice offers “one number to ring all your phones, voicemail that works like email, free calls and text messages to the U.S. and Canada, low-priced international calls and more.” {Google Voice Blog} The “more” includes features like SMS to email and a mobile web app. Android phone users, of course, won’t need a web app – there’s a native app for that. But it’s the best that iPhone users can hope for after Apple unceremoniously banned the Google Voice iPhone app from the App Store (it is still “pending review” nearly a year later).

Lifehacker has a somewhat complicated guide to setting it up to make free VOIP (Voice Over IP) calls, and if you just want a Skype backup for whatever reason, it could be useful. {Lifehacker}

Though with all the fanfare, it’s natural that not everyone is happy about the announcement. In that group? Frontier Communications Corp., who is suing Google over “a patent application for its invention that allows its customers to be reached on multiple lines from a single number. {San Jose Business Journal}

For hopeful Google Voice users, there’s probably not too much to fear. Google acquired Grand Central, the company that’s provided the basis of Google Voice, back in 2007 and took two years to rebrand it as Google Voice in 2009. It’s taken another year for Google to decide the service was ready for public consumption, so surely that’s given them plenty of time to plan for whatever potential challenges may arise.

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