Google Voice, that controversial darling of the VoIP world is making more headlines these days as the hot potato tossed around between ATT, Apple and the FCC than as the innovative telephone / messaging service that it is. I reviewed Voice a while back in the Studio and stand by my thumbs up conclusion. The only material downside I saw to the service back then was the pain associated with getting up close and personal with a brand new phone number – your old number generally was not portable into Voice at that time.
Techcrunch reports that you can now partially port your old number into Google Voice and obtain some (but not all) of Voice’s bells and whistles. Essentially, you can activate the feature and move your voice mail away from your old number and into Voice. So, for those diehard contacts who refuse to switch over to your new Google Voice number and insist on calling your old number, messages at the old number will appear in your Voice inbox. The voicemails are automatically transcribed and you can apply custom messages to callers at that number. At the least, you can consolidate your messaging in one Google Voice location.
One small step for Google, one large step for Cloud walkers everywhere.