Monday, June 22, 2009

One Million Numbers Strong, Google Voice Prepares for Takeoff

Earlier this year RWW reported that Google had made plans for the telephony service it acquired in July, 2007 called GrandCentral. GrandCentral was reborn as Google Voice,which includes all of GrandCentral's features and much more. Google Voice's free service will allow users to unify all of their phone numbers and transfer calls to all of their devices, convert voice calls to text messages, call multiple parties at once and make discounted international calls.

This week, John Fontana of Network World reported that Google has reserved 1 million phone numbers with communications and information services company Level 3. The company has not announced anything yet, but on the GrandCentral website it says "if you are a GrandCentral user, over the next few days you will be prompted to upgrade to Google Voice". These look like clear signs that it is getting ready to go live any time now, so check those emails and get ready to claim your number, they could go fast.

Google has continued to keep the old GrandCentral service, but has not allowed new users to sign up. Currently only GrandCentral users have access to Google Voice and new numbers are only available for American area codes. The GrandCentral users we spoke with love the service and are thrilled to try Google Voice. Our own Frederick Lardinois says it looks like a winner; "it takes the best features of GrandCentral and adds a number of important and interesting new features...clearly this is one of the most important products that Google has released in the last couple of months".

Judge for yourself. Below are three videos that show how easy it is to place calls, set up a conference call and how the phone calls are routed. There is some speculation about future integration with Android and we are certainly looking forward to that as well.

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