Google Expands Voice Capability with Google Voice
Google announces the release of Google Voice, an application designed to provide a number of phone-related services, including automated voice mail transcription and the consolidation of multiple user phone numbers into a single one. Google Voice is an updated version of GrandCentral, a service that Google acquired in 2007.Google announced on March 11 the release of Google Voice, an application that provides phone-related services such as automated voice mail transcription, SMS text-messaging storage and a single number for all of an individual user's various phones. Google has been rapidly expanding into new areas outside of its traditional search engine business, experimenting with everything from power management applications to health care pages, despite an economic downturn that has many companies rapidly consolidating around their core businesses.
GrandCentral attracted much press attention at the time of its acquisition for its central service, which consolidated all of a user's various office, home and cell numbers into a single phone number. When that new number was dialed, all the user's phones would ring. On top of this, GrandCentral consolidated all messages into a single voice mail box, and made the messages available on the Web and for download.
In addition to preserving these primary GrandCentral features, Google Voice incorporates several new tools, including automated voice mail transcription, searchable via the Google Voice in-box, and the ability to receive, store and forward SMS text messages. Users can use Google Voice to place "low priced" international calls and link people into conference calls.
Kay added, "It's one more brick in the giant edifice that Google is assembling to garner a customer touch, from as high a proportion of all electronic transactions as possible." Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comments from an analyst.