The Google phone service previously known as GrandCentral is due for a subtle yet substantial update in the near future. According to tipsters, Google Voice, which launched with the new monicker over the winter, will offer number portability in the near future. The rumour has bubbled up before, but the confirmation might mean we’ll see something sooner than later.
If you haven’t checked it out, Google Voice essentially funnels all your phone calls (regardless of source) through one number for a bunch of functions – call recording, logs, SMS records, voicemail transcription, the whole shebang. The problem is, even if you’ve handed out your new number to all your contacts, their caller ID will still pick up the number of whatever you’re using (landline, cell, etc.) rather than your Google Voice number, and lead them to contact you directly and circumvent the whole system.
With the new number portability, you’ll be able to assign your Google Voice number with your existing phone number, so no more confusing your buddies with the new one. Even though caller ID will still pick up your particular device’s phone number, word has it there will be dedicated smartphone apps (like GVDialer for BlackBerry) that fix the problem by routing outbound calls through Google Voice. It sounds complicated, but with improvements like this, Google Voice is positioning itself much better as a new kind of cell service provider.