Google today finally announced its plans for GrandCentral, the telephony service it acquired in July 2007. GrandCentral will be reborn as Google Voice, a comprehensive suite of telephony services, including all of GrandCentral's features. In addition, Google Voice will also include an automated voicemail transcription service, the ability to send and receive text messages, and integration with your Gmail contacts. Users can now also call any number in the the U.S. for free.
Great news. I used to have a voice-mail transcription service, but it sucked and cost money. This one sounds much, much better:
The automated voicemail transcription feature looks like it will be one of the most useful functions of Google Voice. Transcriptions are fully automated and Google will mark passages in the text where the algorithm was not very confident about the transcription. Transcriptions will automatically appear in your inbox, but Google Voice can also email them to you, or even send you an SMS with the text.
Let's hope that the phone companies are running scared like the swindling bastards they are. Exorbitant international calling rates? Paying for SMS and minutes? Hopefully that will all be a thing of the past.