Thursday, March 12, 2009

GrandCentral is finally reborn as Google Voice

GrandCentral was essentially a proxy phone number which people could call and which would ring all of your phones (land lines a bit before cell phones). Or depending on your settings for the caller, it could ring some subset of your phones, go straight to voice mail, or be blocked entirely (Sayonara, telemarketers!). Voice mail messages could be played from a web interface. Calls within the United States were free.

Google Voice adds automatic transcripts of voice mail, cheap international calls (since it works as VOIP) [apparently this is the only feature that costs money], conference calls, and the big one: It does what you would expect it to with SMS messages to your GrandCentral number: It forwards them to all your cell phones.

You can also send a Google Voice number an SMS by e-mail. The Google Voice address is [your 10-digit number]

Upgrading is apparently optional for existing GrandCentral users at this point. Those who choose to do so would be wise to export their GC contacts first, as they will have to be re-added under the new Google Contacts scheme. [I have accumulated 15 spammer numbers which I would not want to lose, and while it is possible do delist your GrandCentral number from telemarketers like any other number (via, I'd wager that some of the spam calls I got would not be filtered out by this mechanism.]

For everyone else, there's the official Google Voice invitation request form. Or you can request an invitation via the Google Voice Twitter account.

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