Google have started to release a preview of Google Voice, an new application that helps you manage your voice communications.
You can get transcripts of your voicemail and archive and search all of the SMS text messages you send and receive. You can also use the Google Voice service to make low-priced international calls and access Goog-411 directory assistance.
Google Voice (www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html) (formerly GrandCentral) is a telecommunications service by Google launched in March 2009.
Google Voice comes pre-installed on Nexus One phones sold in the United States. Currently existing Google Voice users can log-in and access their voicemail messages right away, while new users can set up Google voicemail as an alternative to their carrier's voicemail.
At present Google Voice is only available in the United States. The Google Voice service provides a U.S. phone number, chosen by the user from available numbers in selected area codes, free of charge to each user account. The service is configured and maintained by the user in a web-based application, styled after Google's e-mail service, Gmail.
Google Voice provides additional features such as voicemail, call history, conference calling, call screening, blocking of unwanted calls, and voice transcription to text of voicemail messages. Received calls may be moved between configured telephones during a call.
About Google Voice:
Users must have an established U.S. telephone service to activate Google Voice.
Inbound calls to the chosen number are forwarded to other phone numbers of the subscriber.
Outbound calls may be placed to domestic and international destinations by dialing the Google Voice number or from a web-based application.
Inbound and outbound calls to US (incl. Alaska and Hawaii) and Canada are free of charge, while international calls are billed according to a schedule posted on the Google Voice website.
The service also features centralized voicemail and indexable, automated voicemail transcription, accessible by PC or phone.
Google Voice Features:
Switching of phones during a call
Call recording and online archiving
Send, receive, and store SMS online
Ability to change your number for a fee
Forward or downloading of voice-mails
Blocking calls from specified numbers
Free calls and SMS in the US and Canada
Customize preferences for contacts by group
Listening to voicemail online or from a phone
Personalized greetings based on calling number
Viewing the web inbox from a mobile device/phone
Answering incoming calls on any configured phone
Notification of voicemail messages via email or SMS
Voicemail transcripts. Reading of voicemail messages online
A single Google forwarding number to all of the user's phones
Calling international phone numbers for as low as US$0.02 per minute
Call routing. Selection of phones that should ring based on calling number
Listening in on someone's recording of a voice message before taking a call
Call screening. Announcement of callers based on their number or by an automated identification request for blocked numbers
Specifying an existing phone number instead of the Google Voice number on initial setup for use with limited functionality, such as some voicemail functions and using the voice mail system for the user's phone number (mobile devices only).
Based on the calling number, or contact group (e.g., Family, Friends, Work), or on time of day (e.g., disabling a home phone during business hours and routing calls to mobile or business number), individual numbers may be configured to ring.
Google Voice provides automatic blocking of known numbers, e.g., telemarketers, the ability to switch lines in mid-call, differentiated voice mail greetings based on caller, SMS forwarding, and call recording. Additionally, customers of Gizmo5, a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) service vendor, may forward calls to their Gizmo service which may be answered using a free computer application (or a web application) or forwarded to any GoogleTalk, Skype or other SIP service.
Google Voice is similar to the AT&T True Connections 500 service offered in the 1990s. AT&T's service required the direct involvement of AT&T to change the phone number list, while the Google service is user configurable on the web application.