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Google Voice now available for anyone in the U.S.

Last week I highlighted an enterprising prepaid user who utilized multiple plans and phones to fulfill his various cellular needs. At the end I mentioned that a Google Voice account would come in handy if one were to do this, because no matter which line you used people could reach you at a single number. At that time Google Voice was an invite-only service. Yesterday the company announced that Google Voice is now available to anyone in the U.S. That’s good news not just for power users like our friend from Howard Forums, but also for any prepaid user who switches carriers.

One of the most common complaints I hear from prepaid users is that they lose their number for some reason. Maybe something went wrong when porting a number, maybe the user left his account inactive for too long. Whatever the reason, it can be devastating to lose a phone number. But once it’s gone it’s probably not coming back.

This was actually my one issue with Google Voice. I had to choose a new number, and in order to take advantage of all the features I’d have to use that number. But I’ve had my number for nine years now and don’t intend to change it if not completely necessary. If, however, I lost a number I would probably start using the one in my Google Voice account.

If you’re comfortable changing your number, I’d recommend then getting a Google Voice number. That way, when you change carriers, or if, for some reason, you use multiple prepaid phones simultaneously, you can still give out one number — the same number — all the time. People can call that number and reach you, no matter what the actual number of the phone you’re using. That’s why I love the call forwarding option. You can even disconnect all of your phones from the number and go incommunicado for a week.

Plus, there are other features prepaid users can take advantage of, like voicemail transcriptions sent as SMS.

You can sign up at google.com/voice