Google is starting the release dance on a huge new service: Google Voice. I have not been able to try out this new service, since it is now in limited availability beta.
This product has been in super-secret beta with only really important and connected people having access under its previous name: Grand Central. It is now rebranded as Google Voice and it looks like a unified telephone number with a web-based dashboard and all kinds of powerful features.
Watch out Verizon, AT&T, Skype and every0ne else. Here are some of the features:
- Place calls – Call US numbers for free
- Taking calls – Answer on any of your phones
- Listen to voicemail – Check online or from your phone.
See video about how a voicemail is transcribed and made available as text.
- Call screening – Announce and screen callers
- Listen in – Listen before taking a call
- Personalize greeting – Vary greetings by caller
- Block calls – Keep unwanted callers at bay
- SMS – Send, receive, and store SMS
- Forwarding phones – Add phones and decide which ring
- Conference calling – Join people into a single call
- Call record – Record calls and store them online
- Call switch – Switch phones during a call
- Notifications – Receive voicemails via email or SMS
- Share voicemail – Forward or download voicemails
Forwarding your calls to one or all of your phones sounds great:
According to USA Today:
Google wants to be your phone provider. Not only will its new Google Voice service give you free phone calls within the U.S., it also assigns you a new phone number that forwards calls to your cellphone and land line. And it transcribes your voice messages into e-mail.
To do all that, you must sign up for a new Google phone number to tie in your other connections. Digitizing your voice mail means those messages can be posted on blogs or shared via e-mail, Paquet says.
I bet there are a lot of freaked out companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, Skype and Vonage to name a few!
It will be interesting to see how this service plays into the business community. I would love to see a business version of this that would let me track my phone calls easily and with lower cost.