The Google Voice team last Friday, July 24, promised to start offering 50,000 sets of free calling cards for the new invitees of its phone management service, which lets users receive calls to multiple phones via one Google Voice number.
Many people are getting Voice numbers for the first time so the move, in conjunction with iPrint.com, will help users distribute their numbers to family, friends and colleagues. Google Voice Product Marketing Manager Brian Hutchins wrote:
"Keep an eye open for an image and link to appear in your Google Voice inbox, on the left side below the account balance, as it will appear at different times for different Google Voice users throughout the week."
Well, I checked today and I saw this invite:
I clicked the button and came to this screen:
I chose to go with personal for this service. Here's where it got hairy. The Google Voice calling card form page from iPrint.com is sllllooooooowwwwww.
There's a 3 to 10 second latency period between each character that you type in for your name and address. This was so frustrating I almost closed my browser tab. Really. But I want these cards, so I sucked it up.
I filled out a password because I've never used iPrint, then went through a couple more prompt screens before hitting pay dirt:
The cards will start rolling out to folks in August.
The Google Voice cards are another sign that Google Voice is beginning its path to the mainstream, regardless of the fact Apple chose to shut out the application.