Google Voice is set to knock the socks off people who maintain multiple phone numbers -- home, work, mobile, etc. The new service is actually the newest version of a company they acquired called Grand Central.
The idea is that you get your own "Google Number" in an area code of your choice, and you let Google route all your incoming phone calls to every phone number you have.
The new service has all the features of Grand Central, so you can do some pretty cool things like answer a call on your home-phone, and during the call, you can pick up the same line on your cell phone -- handy if you're just about to leave the house. Here's a more detailed list of the features you can expect to find in Google Voice:
- Call screening - Announce and screen callers
- Listen in - Listen before taking a call
- Block calls - Keep unwanted callers at bay
- SMS - Send, receive, and store SMS
- Place calls - Call US numbers for free
- Taking calls - Answer on any of your phones
- Phone routing - Phones ring based on who calls
- Forwarding phones - Add phones and decide which ring
- Voicemail transcripts - Read what your voicemail says
- Listen to voicemail - Check online or from your phone
- Notifications - Receive voicemails via email or SMS
- Personalize greeting - Vary greetings by caller
- Share voicemail - Forward or download voicemails
- Conference calling - Join people into a single call
- Call record - Record calls and store them online
- Call switch - Switch phones during a call
- Mobile site - View your inbox from your mobile
- GOOG-411 - Check directory assistance
- Manage groups - Set preferences by group
This new service has the potential to solve a lot of issues that people didn't even realize they had -- the perfect way to get user adoption. Best of all, it's free -- that includes free out-bound calls to US numbers!
Will you use this new service? I'm in Canada, and I only wish I could.