Google released a new application Thursday the company believes will improve the way you use your phone. Available initially to members of Grand Central (which Google acquired in 2007), Google Voice will give users transcripts of voicemail (see the video), and let them archive and search SMS text messages sent and received.
Users will also be able to use the service to make low-priced international calls and easily access Goog-411 directory assistance.
GrandCentral offers users a single number to ring home, work, and mobile phones, a central voicemail inbox accessible on the web, and the ability to screen calls by listening in live as callers leave a voicemail. Those features, and more, are included in the Google Voice preview.
The powers that be behind Google’s effort are Craig Walker, Vincent Paquet, and Wesley Chan, Google Voice Product Managers. Walker and Paquet were the creators of GrandCentral (Walker was CEO and Paquet was CTO). Before that, the two ran Dialpad (one of the earliest VoIP providers, which brought lost cost calling solutions to places such as Mexico as far back as 1998), which they sold to Yahoo about 3-4 years ago.
Many people have been wondering when Google was going to do something with Grand Central. They’ve been in beta forever, and stopped allowing new users soon after Google took it over. Here is the answer.
Google has a features page with videos and more information on how these features work.