Google Voice is almost here

Google Voice is almost here

Summary: 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.

TOPICS: Google, Mobility, Telcos

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.

Topics: Google, Mobility, Telcos

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  • Already Started Using It

    I was able to upgrade my GrandCentral account today, and it is absolutely brilliant. I spent a sizable chunk of the day sending e-mails to friends and family letting them know that I want to be called on the new Google Voice number.

    I played with the text messaging (you can send SMS from the computer and continue the conversation from a mobile phone. It's very cool), the e-mail notifications, and the visual voice mail. What's better, it's plugged into your Google contacts. As a result, I can setup person specific instructions (like sending my boss directly to voice mail after 5:30 pm).

    When coupled with GrandDialer on the iPhone, it's just about perfect.

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    Rob Oakes
  • Try adding a label to Gmail of: voicemail

    and it returns:

    Sorry, you can't create a label named "voicemail" (it's a reserved system label). Please try another name
  • RE: Google Voice is almost here easier venue for telemarketers.
    • RE: Google Voice is almost here

      Actually it has been extremely helpful for me to get rid of telemarketers, that has been my main use of grandcentral. I give my credit card companies or anybody whom I don't want to receive calls from my grand central number, then if a telemarketer calls, I log onto the website and block them from ever calling again. Until they change numbers. But I still say it has been very effective.
  • And how does it handle 911 calls?

    If I've got multiple devices on the same number, how does a 911 system know where I'm calling from?
    • RE: And how does it handle 911 calls?

      Since its based on grandcentral mainly outgoing calls come from your original number (cell, home, etc). I am not yet sure how Google Voice is allowing outgoing calls via the service (I have not been upgraded yet). But with grandcentral it was by initiating the phone call from the website and it rang your phone then once you answered it forwarded the call to whom you wanted it to. So in an emergency you can still pick up your home phone and call 911 and they have all the information they need, nothing changes. Mainly Google Voice and GrandCentral are for Incoming calls.
  • What's in it for them?

    Does someone have to listen to an ad? Are they going to record your calls and listen for keywords so the ads can be tailored to you and your callers? That's Google: ads or advertising analysis. Or do they kill similar services with this free offer and charge for it later, like Microsoft? What's the catch?