GrandCentral Grows Up – Now Google Voice!

As a surprise to many, Google has finally taken the popular and useful GrandCentral service and done something with it.

To those unaware, GrandCentral was a service I adopted long ago that provides “One number for life”. That is, you are given a new phone number and can use it to ring all your phone numbers including your mobile, home line, work phone, and any other normal phone number. As another feature, you get centralized voicemail…since all your calls go to one number, you have a centralized box for all your various messages. No more keeping a voicemail box at work, home, and on your cell.

All this is well and good, but GrandCentral has been around for years now with no improvements or additions. This ended today as Google has launched Google Voice. What is new? Many things including:

  • SMS forwarding: This was my chief complaint about the old GrandCentral – no way to have SMS messages get forwarded to your mobile. Now, Google Voice will do this.
  • Voicemail transcription: Your voicemails will now be transcribed to the best of the voice recognition software’s ability. This of course, is so Google can sell you ads inside Google Voice, much like what they do with Gmail now.
  • Integration with Google Mail contacts.
  • Phone scheduling: you can have Google ring your work phone between business hours and your mobile after hours based on a schedule you set.
  • Conference calling: Google Voice will let you conference with up to 6 people and will record the call as well. US callers are free and International callers are per minute with very cheap rates.

I think the new service is a fabulous next step for GrandCentral. Google Voice will now become my all encompassing now that they do SMS forwarding. Having all my communications in one place is invaluable.

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