Google Voice Launches

The long-awaited re-emergence of GrandCentral since Google bought them has come about, being dubbed (of course) Google Voice (what did you expect? With other products named such novel things as “mail” and “news” or (what was that original one called, again?… oh yes…) “search”?)

Since it’s just launching, it remains to be seen if Google Voice will put all the features it promises into a package consumers will love.

    From Google: The new application improves the way you use your phone. You can get transcripts of your voicemail (see the video below) and archive and search all of the SMS text messages you send and receive. You can also use the service to make low-priced international calls and easily access Goog-411 directory assistance.

ZDNET feels the service has the “potential to make the search giant a middleman in an important part of people’s lives, telephone communications. With the service, people can pick a new phone number from Google Voice; when others call it, Google can ring all the actual phones a person uses and handle voice mail.”

google_voice_inboxThis is all moving us forward to a future more “wired”, but less tethered… as phone numbers become enduring modes of contact, getting a “google number” will ensure that people can reach out to you for years to come.

When using Grand Central, I enjoyed the use of the tool, but wished it could allow me to provide more intuitive rules around callers or on-the-fly commands. It appeared that Grandcentral was purchased before it was fully “baked”. I am looking forward to how Google Voice has improved the service… as well as looking forward to having ONE NUMBER TO RULE THEM ALL (or filter them “all” out).

Interestingly, this application feels a lot like GMAIL, google’s email system. It’s transformation of email from a “messages” based platform to a “conversation” based one, then heralding the introduction of powerful rules-based management, simple keyboard shortcuts, and account access from various methods… all for the price of having ads appearing around your messages (but not IN them, which Yahoo/Hotmail still do).

As long as the tool (if it becomes ad-aware) displays relevant ads to me without overly-annoying, and ensures that my privacy will be maintained* then I am very interested in the tool.

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