Search giant Google has quietly pushed out a much-needed upgrade to its GrandCentral service, called Google Voice; the latter can embed traditional phone features with its signature email service Gmail.
The service would allow users to make cheaper international calls, along with feature to enable users to store voicemail phone messages’ transcripts in their email inboxes and to search out a particular piece of information within a phone message.
Google Voice service, which is based on the technology from GrandCentral Communications, a company Google acquired back in July 2007 for an undisclosed amount.
The newly launched Google Voice is the first major update of GrandCentral service, which merges mobile phone and landline numbers into a single phone number (known as the Google Number) with integrated voicemail, similar to your Skype or IM handle.
Along with the capabilities from GrandCentral service, Voice service also integrates speech-recognition technology that the company developed for its signature Goog-411 telephone directory service, for transcribing voicemails into text automatically, and the transcribed messages can be forwarded as SMS text or email to a recipient’s email inbox.
The service will continue to remain in private beta for the current GrandCentral users for a couple of weeks, and is expected to available to general public thereafter.
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After video and text, Google is taking on audio big time. Google Voice can potentially convert the tens of millions of Gmail users to VoIP users overnight. We're intrigued by the accuracy of the "speech to text" service and we do envision dozens of applications for it; converting songs to lyrics or speeches. Ultimately, Google Voice will be tied with Android.