Overview of Google Voice Phone Service
Google is a company that often acquires other small start-up companies and then doesn’t do anything with them. One of the companies that acquired a few years back and then just kind of let be was GrandCentral, a company that basically consolidated a lot of your phone services into one service to streamline your voice communication. Google has finally announced plans to do something with that acquisition with the launch of Google Voice.
Google Voice for GrandCentral Customers
The initial launch of Google Voice is going to be available only to those people who are already using GrandCentral. You see, even though Google didn’t do much with the startup company after acquisition, the business still continued to exist and some users continued to spend time on it. New accounts were frozen but people who already had GrandCentral could stay on it if they wanted to do so. Those users will be rewarded by being the first people to receive access to all of the new Google Voice features that will now be available. The service is going to open up to the general public soon enough but it’s starting off with existing customers.
Overview of GrandCentral Services
People who have been using GrandCentral have had access to the following services which will also be available to the general public via Google Voice once the initial launch phase of the service is over and everyone can sign up:
• One single number that will let people reach you on all of your phones. The main feature that people seem to like about GrandCentral is that you can use any different phone that you want via one phone number. In other words, someone can call this number and the call will ring on your cell phone, your landline, your work phone and any other phone that you’ve got linked to the service. This means that you no longer have to give out half a dozen phone numbers to make sure that someone can reach you. It also means that you don’t have to necessarily give you private numbers to people that you want to be able to reach you at home or on your cell because you juts give them your GrandCentral contact information instead.
• Single voice mail box service. This is basically an added feature to the first feature. In addition to being able to be reached at that one number, you can also receive messages from people at that one number. Imagine being able to access your cell, home, and landline messages in one place. That’s what you can do now with GrandCentral.
• Live voice mail screening. I happen to think that this is a really cool feature. Basically you can listen in as someone leaves a message and pick up the call in the middle of the message if you want. It’s like what we used to do when we had manual answering machines but it now applies to voice mail boxes.
Additional Google Voice Services
Here is a look at some of the additional, advanced and improved voice services that GrandCentral users are going to have the opportunity to make use of now that Google Voice is officially being launched for them:
• Voicemail transcripts. You can receive a written version of voice mail messages via text message so that you can easily see what information has been left for you without listening to the voice mail message.
• Archive all text messages. This means that you will be able to save all of those messages so that you have that information at your fingertips if you ever need it. If you’ve ever erased a text message with an address that you needed, you know how convenient that is.
• Search function for transcripts and messages. Google is known for its search functions and that’s a neat addition to the voice services. It lets you easily search through your text messages that you’ve archived so that you can find what you’re looking for.
• Advanced call settings. This is basically a way to sort through your contacts and tell your phone to send some of them directly to voice mail or to always send them to your cell phone or whatever other settings you’d like to apply to them. This allows you to use one single phone and voicemail number but to organize your calls anyway.
• Advanced user interface. People who have been using GrandCentral will see a big change in the user interface of the site but it will probably still look familiar because it’s a lot like Gmail and some of Google’s other organizational tool interfaces. Basically it’s more organized and easier to search through.
• Conference call features. Google Voice has added a new conference call feature to the GrandCentral service for those business phone users that want to enjoy such a feature.
• Reduced calling fees and directory assistance. If you make international calls or use 411 a lot then you will be happy to know that Google Voice could be one way to reduce the costs of those calls.
Now What with Google Voice?
So for people who are interested in this, what’s next? Basically, those people who are already using GrandCentral don’t need to do anything. They’ll automatically be upgraded to Google Voice services and will receive email instructions about what the new service offers and how to start using it correctly. Those people who are interested in joining up with the new Google Voice will need to make sure that they sign up for an email announcement to be notified when the service is officially open to the public. That email announcement will contain the additional information necessary to complete sign-up with the service. All reports indicate that the new service seems to be a good one to check out so it’s probably worth it to at least sign up for that notification email.
Follow the links below for additional information on the Google Voice launch announcement.
- GrandCentral: The New Way to Use Your Phones
- GrandCentral To (Finally) Launch As Google Voice. It’s Very, Very Good.
GrandCentral, a phone management service that first launched in 2006 and was acquired by Google for $50+ million in 2007, hasn’t been in ...
- Google Expands Voice Capability with Google Voice
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- Official Google Blog: Here comes Google Voice