Google Voice is finally sending out invites to the public, starting with the people who requested them long ago. I’ve been using the service for a few years, since the Grand Central days, and am a big fan. Here are my top 4 reasons why everyone who uses a phone should sign-up today:

  1. Free long distance calling. Call into your account from any phone and Google allows you to dial out to any U.S. phone number for free. And because I have my Google Voice phone number as one of my 5 T-mobile favorites, I get totally free calling from my mobile phone. Plus, Google is offering very cheap international calling.
  2. Visual voicemail with transcription. When I get a voicemail on my account, I get an email that lets me play the message and includes a transcription of the message. The transcriptions aren’t perfect, and at times are pretty funny, but you can get the jist of the message without listening to the call. This is a great time saver.
  3. Android and iPhone GV Mobile application. This free application for my T-mobile G1 phone allows easy access to my Google Voice account including managing call-backs for free calling.
  4. One number for life. Choose your Google Voice phone number carefully, especially the area code – it may be your number for life. I don’t give out my home or mobile number to personal or business contacts. I give them my Google Voice number, which routes calls to whatever phone I happen to be using. It can even ring multiple phones simultaneously.

Biggest wish? I hope the online Google Voice interface get fully integrated with Gmail, but only as an option.