It looks like a certain search giant is ready to let some more people get their hands (or, um, mouths and ears) on Google Voice. Google announced today that users will soon have the chance to invite their friends and family members (or cash-equipped individuals) to the service.
A post on the Official Google Blog stated, "Starting today, we’re beginning to give out invitations to Google Voice users. If you currently use Google Voice, over the next few weeks, you’ll see an ‘Invite a friend’ link appear on the left-hand side of your inbox."
Then here are a couple of other key points: "We’ll be rolling out these invitations gradually, so don’t worry if you don’t see your invitations immediately. We’re initially giving out three invites to each account, but we’re planning to provide more invitations in the future."
This gradual introduction should ensure that Google Voice isn’t overwhelmed by a sudden influx of users. Outages don’t make for a good first impression.
Of course, this approach also creates a bit of scarcity and excitement – you can imagine people doling out invitations like great gifts, and more than 100 are already for sale on eBay.
It’ll be interesting to see how Google Voice catches on. As you may remember, Google took a similar approach to rolling out Gmail, and it’s certainly done all right.