Google acquired Grand Central in July 2007… then it kinda died. If you were lucky enough to get a number the service continued to work but it appeared as if the Big G just forgot about the service. It now appears though that GrandCentral will rise from the ashes as Google Voice. It will offer a suite of telephony services, including all of the existing GrandCentral features as well as an automated voicemail transcription service, the ability to send and receive text messages, and integration with your Gmail contacts. Users can now also call any number in the the U.S. for free!
The catch: Currently it’s only available for GrandCentral users—who, according to the Google Blog post, should be receiving instructions in the next few days.
The new interface will look a lot like Gmail, with your inbox, SMS messages, access to voicemail and other features in a sidebar on the left. You can make calls directly from the Google Voice web interface. After you initiate the call, the service will actually first call your mobile phone or landline, and after that your call will be placed over Google’s network. Voice calls within the US will be free (watch your back Skype), you can purchase credits for international calls, and it will also offer free conference calls.
So GrandCentral will be replaced with Google Phone, and it looks to be a killer. Apparently, Google was not just sitting on GrandCentral and letting it die. It will integrate the One-Number-To-Rule-Them-All service, Voice Over IP (VOIP), SMS messaging, unified voicemail, voicemail transcriptions, AND a mobile version. This thing is going to be killer… check out the videos below.
Google Phone Voicemail transcripts:
Check out Google Voice.