Google Voice Makes Its Today Show Debut; Invites Start Going Out Today

This morning Google Voice was featured in a segment on the Today Show, during which NBC News correspondent Janet Shamlian outlined her experiences with the service over the last few months (her verdict: she loves it). It’s an interesting piece to watch if only to see how the mass media is trying to describe Google Voice without confusing everyone watching, which can be a difficult task.

Shamlian and Matt Lauer briefly address the potential privacy concerns that have been raised over Voice, which would give Google access to your voice conversations and voicemail. Given that many of us have already used Gmail for years, handing over sensitive data to Google isn’t exactly novel, but it’s a valid point nonetheless. That said, the Today Show piece entirely neglects the other real challenges facing Voice at this point: it requires you to start using a new telephone number (unless you wait it out until number portability) and the numbers shown by your outbound calls can be different from the ones your friends have, which can lead to confusion.

There’s also a pretty big goof at the end of the piece: Matt Laurer concludes the segment saying that Google Voice is “available today, nationwide”, which was big news given that Voice has long only been available to previous GrandCentral members. Google Voice Product Manager Craig Walker has confirmed that this was a goof on NBC’s part, but says that invites have begun going out today to those who have previously requested them. Walker says that the team has “a long list to go through so it will take a while to get them all out”, so don’t be surprised if it takes a while before you get yours. Of course, it probably won’t be long before Voice does open up to the masses, as it wouldn’t make sense for Google to show off the product on the Today Show if the public launch is still months away.