Happy news folks - Grand Central is now Google Voice!!
I try my best to restrict it to one post a day and anything more than one post is queued up for the coming days. I have a minimum of five posts waiting to be published on any given day. I heard the news today and couldn't help but publish this post. And I know it is only for US Customers! But that is okie! I am sure one day I'll be using Google Voice from India to talk to friends and relatives. I also have a feeling that corporates are going to jump at this opportunity. One number for all your phones is not a bad idea and that is what Google is offering through Google Voice.
Google Voice started off as Grand Central in 2005. Craig Walker and Vincent Paquet, the guys who ran Dialpad Communications which was aquired by Yahoo! in June 2005, laid plans for Grand Central. Google acquired Grand Central in July 2007. For the last two years Google never really said anything about the future of Grand Central. And now, it is Google Voice.
David Lagesse wrote why he thinks Google Voice is going to add value to Information Technology. I think one of his reasons is really true:
"It's a compelling offer, especially at the price. In typical Google fashion, there is no cost to users, at least not yet. Maybe there will be later, at least for premium services. For now, the only cost is a potential loss of privacy."Google has kept the key feature of Grand Central and peppered the service with goodies of their own. The power of Grand Central was its ability to give one number for all your phones. David Pogue gives an overview of the features Google has added to the service:
"The new features included free transcriptions of your voicemail (the text of those messages gets sent to you by e-mail and text message); free conference calling; dirt-cheap international calls (2 cents a minute to France or China, for example); and, perhaps most profoundly, Web-based sending and storing of all your text messages. That's a first in cellphone history; for most people, text messages scroll away off the phone after 20 of them or so, with no way to capture them."Skype Forums are already talking about how Google is going to be Skype Killer! Now, Skype, I guess allows Skype-to-Skype calls for free and charges Skype-to-Phone Calls. But, Google Voice is talking about free calls to any local phone. And Preethi Dumpala gives five reasons why she thinks Google Voice is going to take Skype out of Business. Off all the five reasons, I am in total agreement with her when she talks about the 'Google Muscle!"
And it seems you can connect your Jaxter Number with Google Voice Number. I am not still sure if that is going to be 'free of cost to both parties' as it is discussed in the forum. But if it is, it is a bonus. Another good example of how technology can make it a lot more easier for people.
Google says that Google Voice will be open to users in weeks. Right now the service is available to Grand Central Users only.And Grand Central Users are obviously US Users. I am not sure if it is going to be open for Mobile Phone Users in India, the way our telephone companies deal with VoIP. No one is sure and everyone is waiting! For people from US who wants to send SMS to India, I think you can start doing that for time being!!