Google Revives Grand Central as Google Voice

grandcentral-to-finally-launch-as-google-voice-ite28099s-very-very-goodJust in time for the Easter season, Google has brought Grand Central back from the seemingly dead as Google Voice.   If you aren’t familiar with Grand Central, that service (bought by Google awhile back) allowed users to use one Grand Central phone number to handle calls from the many phone numbers that we all have attached to us.

As with the original promise of Grand Central, Google Voice, promises that you only need one phone number for folks to contact you. A customer/friend/whomever calls you on that number instead of your office number or mobile number and wherever you are you get the call.

Google Voice has added some new features including transcribed voice mail, text messaging (they get forwarded to your mobile phone), settings that allow you to route calls from specific callers directly to voice mail, and a GMail-like UI for the web. You can configure and work with Google Voice via voice prompts on your phone or via the web UI.

In the intial rollout, only those who had Grand Central accounts will be able to use the system, but Google says that in the next few weeks it will be rolling out Google Voice to those not on the bandwagon yet.

One way or the other, this will be big. I’m no sure if we’ll see mass adoption of this, or how quickly, but this is certain to disrupt a number of business models out there. For example, a number of existing phone services charge for call forwarding which is a real PITA for those who have multiple phones. I never used Grand Central, so I’ll be watching for this roll out to take place. Love to hear your comments about what you think about this, whether you were a Grand Central user or not.

Interesting to watch as Google plants its flag in yet another big market.

4 Comments

  1. Tony

    03/12/2009 at 8:37 am

    I’ve been using Grand Central for almost two years now. I love it. I’ve never had any missed calls and it makes having two cells and a home phone easier. I’m excited at the new features.

    Reply

  2. LeeN

    03/12/2009 at 9:42 am

    I think I’d almost like to have the opposite, where I have multiple numbers routed to my phone, and be able to see which of those numbers they are trying to contact me with. Then I can have a number I give to different people or organizations, and I can worry less about spam or at least figure out what people/organizations I gave a number to had leaked or given my number to telemarketers. I would love to have something like that for email and credit cards also.

    Reply

  3. Sara Fauzia

    03/12/2009 at 5:59 pm

    Well LeeN, Gmail kind of does allow you to give different emails to companies, while it still being the “same” email. It’s because Gmail allows you to add extra characters to your email address while it still being your email address. Quoting from the Official Gmail Blog:

    Append a plus (“+”) sign and any combination of words or numbers after your email address. For example, if your name was [email protected], you could send mail to [email protected] or [email protected].
    Insert one or several dots (“.”) anywhere in your email address. Gmail doesn’t recognize periods as characters in addresses — we just ignore them. For example, you could tell people your address was [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]. (We understand that there has been some confusion about this in the past, but to settle it once and for all, you can indeed receive mail at all the variations with dots.)

    I hope this helps. If you want to read the original article I cited, here’s the link: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/2-hidden-ways-to-get-more-from-your.html

    As for telephone numbers, that’s definitely a wonderful idea.

    Reply

  4. Teresa Greaves

    03/12/2009 at 8:29 pm

    Numerous services like this already exist with much more of a robust feature set.

    Service likes RingCentral, GotVmail, OneBox, VirtualPBX etc.

    They all offer this and 1000 times more.

    Granted they are paid but they also offer 800 numbers where Google doesn’t.

    All depends on if you view the service for personal use or business.

    If for business I’d definitely go for one of the others…for $10 vs. free you get much more.

    My 2 cents.

    Reply

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