in beta and will be opening up in a few weeks. here are the features of the free service: https://www.google.com/voice/about#

looks to be pretty cool. and it has visual voice mail . . . they automatically transcribe any message you get, which is available on the site or it can be emailed or SMSed to you.

call screening is pretty cool as well. i sort of have this on my phone now for blocked calls, but Google will allow it on all calls where you don't know the caller. it works like this -- the first time someone calls they are asked to record their name, which is given to you while they wait on hold. if you don't want to talk then they get a message saying you weren't available. you can then set a script to run every time they call so you never hear from them again if they were spam, etc.

i think i'll get the cheapest home phone service i can find and then have us switch to Google Voice for the calls we make. i just need them to let me sign up.