GrandCentral becomes Google Voice – unified messaging, the Google Way

Sweet. I’ve been enjoying GrandCentral for some time now, but was wondering like everyone else what Google was doing with it for the past 2 years or so. Turns out they’ve been hard at work improving what was there and adding new features.

First a recap –

  • GrandCentral gave you 1 number that rang all of your ‘real’ #s: cell, home, work, etc.
  • screening of incoming calls
  • a single voicemail box with Web access to your voicemails;
  • caller-specific voicemail greetings
  • specify which phones rang when certain people called you
  • telemarketer blocking
  • off-times for certain phones

What’s new in Google Voice:

  • The biggest feature in my mind is voicemail transcription. For Free. There are probably at least 10 services that currently do this, but for a fee.
  • Free conference calls
  • Accepts text messages and organizes them along with the rest of your voicemails in your single inbox. Additionally, many ways to manipulate and reply to texts.
  • Cheap International calls.

About the only thing I’d like to see complete integration between my Gmail and Google Voice inboxes, but other than that, it’s going to be tough to pass up the opportunity to integrate disparate services. Bottom line: it’s going to be tough to switch away from my cell phone # that I’ve had for 8 years!