International SMS are Free on Google Voice

Today my GrandCentral account is upgraded to Google Voice account. If you don't know GrandCentral, the basic idea around GrandCentral was "one phone number for all your phones, for life." This one number works very well for me as I keep traveling to different places. Also GrandCentral can ring my laptop computer using Gizmo, so I can take calls from my laptop itself.

I was eagerly waiting for it, as I am an extensive GrandCentral user and some of the news features are very useful for me. Some of the new features are -
  • Free Conferencing (Up to 6 users. Though it is not working for me right now)
  • Free SMS (both inbound and outbound, so I can receive SMS on Google Voice phone number, which makes it true replacement of a mobile phone.)
  • Free Voice Transcription, so that I can read the voice messages in your inbox. I hope it is better than me in understanding American accent :-)
  • Free US calling. Not only I can initiate calls from the Google Voice website, but also I can use my regular US phone for making calls using Google Voice account. Also international calling is almost as cheap as skype, though not free.
Coming back to free International SMS, here are some of he key points -
  • International SMS are for free
  • Once you get a response of a SMS, Google generates a unique 406 number. This will connect to their international number but will cost Google Voice rate.
  • This Google Voice 406 number can be saved in your in your contacts and one can initiate SMS, bypassing Google Voice online.
New registration to Google Voice is available on invite only, so if you don't have existing GrandCentral account, you will have to wait for your invite.

Update March 23rd, 2009: Recently my international SMS to Netherlands are failing and I am not sure whether Google has stopped International SMS.


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