The newly-announced Google Voice has the potential to significantly change the way a great many people use their phones. It’s a collection of services that individually aren’t groundbreaking, but together could be a game changer, especially considering the price: free.
Users of this service will tell Google the numbers for all their phones — mobile, work, and home — and be assigned a new number. Thereafter, any call made to this new number will cause all the other phones to ring simultaneously.
In addition, all these phones will then have a single voicemail inbox. Naturally, users will have the option of listening to their messages, but they can also read them, as Google Voice will transcribe them into text and put them on a web site.
Users will be able to send SMS messages from their new number, and texts sent to the Google Voice number will be archived online, where they can be searched.
If that wasn’t enough, users will also be able to make free long-distance calls and screen their incoming calls.
Free, and Coming Soon
All of these features will be available at no cost, and Google says there will be no ads worked into the audible portions of this service. The company will pay for this service by charging for international calls.
Google Voice grew out of GrandCentral, a company that Google acquired in 2007. People who were already users of GrandCentral can switch over to the new version now, and everyone else will be able to join in the near future.
Google has put together a collection of videos demonstrating the various features of Google Voice. This can be found on its website.
The video for the voice transcription feature is below: