I recently got a new cell phone and number, so today I logged into Grandcentral to add the new number. To my surprise Google is switching over Grandcentral users to Google Voice. I was assured that everything would be similar and I would get even more features in Google Voice.
The transition was really smooth, and I was able to link my main Google account with Google Voice in the process. So, this means all my contacts from GMail are available in Google Voice and vice versa. The interface has the same Google simplicity as every other service they offer, so in just a few minutes I had navigated around and made the necessary changes.
One obvious change was the new feature allowing you to call International numbers (for a fee of course). I don’t remember the rates, but your new Google Voice account will come with a $1 credit so you can test it out.
Another new feature that I really liked was the ability to send/relay SMS messages. You can send SMS messages to any phone within Google Voice. From my understanding the message will appear as it is coming from your GVoice number. (Tired of typing Google Voice out so that’s what I am calling from now on. Why didn’t they call it that to begin with?) When the recipient replies GVoice forwards the SMS message to your phone(s).
All in all it was a really easy transition and I am happy to have it linked with my main Google account. Now I am wondering what Google plans to do with GVoice. I think I remember reading the FAQ on the Grandcentral site and it saying something about eventually charging a monthly fee for the service. I could have read that somewhere else though. As of now the FAQ says that there are “no specific product plans to discuss at this time.” I hope they keep it free. It’s a good service, but I wouldn’t pay much over $5 per month for the service personally.
I would like to see GVoice integration into Gmail. I am sure it’s coming through Google Labs soon enough, but you know us techie types – nothing is ever good enough.
Already available through Google Labs and a Gadget for IGoogle. Click below for the instructions.
If you are not already a Grandcentral user then you will have to wait until Google opens this up for everyone. You can go to https://services.google.com/fb/forms/googlevoiceinvite/ and request an invite.
Update: This feature may or may not have been available under Grandcentral, but I just realized you can call your GVoice number (from any of the phones you have set up with GVoice) and it will give you a prompt to enter in a phone number to call. After you enter the number it will place the call to the number you have entered. I setup my GVoice number as one of my Fave 5′s for TMobile so this is going to be a handy feature. I have already given out my GVoice number so all those incoming calls will be free to my cellphone, and I can also dial it to make free outgoing calls on my cell if I need to. Pretty sweet.
Update #2: I found a really cool Firefox Add-on for Google Voice. It will make any phone number within a webpage a click to call link. You can also enter a phone number right from your browser and your phone will ring. When you answer the call will be connected. I installed it tonight and it works great. Check it out.
How To Get Free Phone Service