Mar 12th, 2009

Way back in September of 2008 we told you about GrandCentral, called it Google’s Forgotten Acquisition and talked about the huge implications it could have for Android. Now I’d like to add one more thing… told ya so. Google has just announced that GrandCentral is now Google Voice.

googlevoice

It’s only available to existing GrandCentral customers at the moment, but you can be SURE they’re going to roll this out to the masses otherwise they wouldn’t have rebranded it. And trust us, this is going to have implications on Android so you’re going to want to know a little more about it. Luckily, Google has created a TON of videos about the features of Google Voice, shared with our comments below.

Here is the “concept” by which Google Voice works. Everyone calls your Google Voice number and it gets rerouted as appropriate:

VOICEMAIL 2.0

PERSONALIZED GREETING
When your friends get your voicemail it could say, “Whattup Broseph? I’m no around yo but leave ‘dem digits and I’ll hollerback” while your Mom would say, “Sorry I’m not around Mom, leave a message love ya!” and Co-Workers and Unknown numbers could hear something more traditional. Want to be cool without risking your job? Google Voice FTW!

SCREENING CALLS
Do I really need to sell you on this? When a new number calls you the first time, it asks them who they are and their voice is recorded, letting you know who it is before you decide whether or not to answer:

MANAGE GROUPS
Keep track of your entire contact list and phone numbers neatly, from the web:

MOBILE SITE
While the below is shown on a G1, I think its safe to say that a native Android Application would be made for Google Voice:

FORWARDING PHONES AND PHONE NUMBERS
If you have more than one phone, like me, I’m sure you understand that this could be sent from heaven:

PERSONAL PHONE VS. BUSINESS PHONE

LISTEN IN
You can freaking listen to voicemails AS they are being recorded JUST like a home answering machine. HOW AWESOME IS THIS? If it is important just pick it up mid-call!

TRANSCRIPTIONS & NOTIFICATIONS
Have your voicemails sent to you via E-Mail with a transcription of the voicemail sent to you! Too cool, right?

NO MORE PHONE SPAM!
You can block calls from specific numbers. Only thing I would wish for here is customize greetings for these blocked calls. You could get pretty creative with telemarketers!

MANAGE VOICEMAIL LIKE GMAIL
Makes cleaning out your voicemail, saving messages and such much easier.

I’ll let you all ponder the many ways this could improve people’s lives but there IS a major hurdle to get over… you’ll have to change your phone number. Google has to assign you a phone number that EVERYONE you know uses which will reroute your phone to the number you desire. It has to be a different number in order to work, so you’ll have to go through the pain and irritation of getting your phone number changed.

I wonder if there is a way to alleviate this irritation? The other thing is… people COULD still call your phone directly if they wanted to, bypassing the various benefits and measures that Google Voice takes. If that was the case, it would be a good idea to get a completely new cell phone number too, since you won’t actually be “giving it out” to anyone and it will only be used as a rerouting issue.

My personal biggest question is how many people are willing to put ALLLLL of this trust with their personal life, business life, EVERYTHING life into one company. Google truly will be the keeper of your life’s connectivity. Owning your internet browsing with Chrome, your phone with Android, your EMail with GMail and your phone NUMBER with Google Voice? I don’t care… I love Google and I want this – not afraid to admit it!

Lots to talk about… lets hear it!?!??!? When do you think this will launch to the general public?