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March 12, 2009

Google Voice, the New Version of GrandCentral

Google Voice is the name of the updated version of GrandCentral that runs on Google's infrastructure. At this time, the service is only available in the US to the existing GrandCentral users, but Google promises to extend its availability soon. The good news is that GrandCentral will continue to be free and you'll only have to pay for international calls.

"Google Voice gives you one number for all your phones -- a phone number that is tied to you, not to a device or a location. Use Google Voice to simplify the way you use phones, make using voicemail as easy as email, customize your callers' experience, and more. Google Voice isn't a phone service, but it lets you manage all of your phones. Google Voice works with mobile phones, desk phones, work phones, and VoIP lines. There's nothing to download, upload, or install, and you don't have to make or take calls using a computer," explains the new help center.

Google Voice Blog mentions that the service added many new features: "voicemail transcription, SMS support, conference calling, GOOG-411 integration, low cost international calling". Voicemails are now searchable, you can embed them in a web page and you can receive email notifications. Text messages sent to your Google number are automatically forwarded to your mobile phone and they are also available in the web account, where you can reply to the incoming messages.



The following videos show how to use Google's new voice service:



To request a notification when Google Voice becomes publicly available, use this form. "We expect to have the service ready for new users in a matter of weeks, and are focused on opening it as soon as possible," promises Google.

{ Thanks, Nathan. Via Blogoscoped. }

51 comments:

  1. Cool. Wish I lived in the US, they are first to get everything from Google. New Zealand is always last, being on the edge of the world does have its downsides...

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  2. I understand u BLKRDR, i live in Chile, in the other edge of the world. I hope so that Google Voice ll come soon here too...

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  3. Currently I have a Grand Central account but I'm getting all kinds of strange things when trying to access Google Voice. Interesting...

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  4. Greetings from Poland, third edge of the world.

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  5. I also have a Grand Central account, but I'm not able to login

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  6. @Anoymous:
    Over the next few days, you'll receive an email with instructions on how to upgrade your GrandCentral account to Google Voice.

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  7. For those having trouble logging in: you need to go to GrandCentral.com and login with you username and password associated with the site, not your Google credentials.

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  8. GC user here, but no invite yet.

    Wow, I thought this day would never come. I was convinced that GC was one of those limbo projects kept on life support but not ever developed. I'm really glad to see it's actually alive. Hopefully now we'll start to see some movement.

    The SMS forwarding is something I've been hoping for, but the thing they really need to do is run the contacts list off of Google Contacts. Maintaining the same info in Gmail and Grand Central is a pain in the butt.

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  9. @Brock:
    "The thing they really need to do is run the contacts list off of Google Contacts. Maintaining the same info in Gmail and Grand Central is a pain in the butt."

    If you watch the videos embedded in the post, you'll notice that Google Voice uses the contact manager from Gmail.

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  10. This looks complicated.

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  11. This sounds cool, but it looks like it won't work with the main way I communicate --- using my cellphone with free mobile-to-mobile (most of my friends and family are on the same network).

    If I understand it correctly, this (Google Voice service) would be a new number that I would give out to everyone? Then I wouldn't be able to use any m2m free time...

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  12. I found this information for current GC users on the Google Blog:

    "What do I do if I am already a GrandCentral user?
    To upgrade to Google Voice, sign in to your GrandCentral account and follow the instructions at the top of your inbox."

    I logged into my GrandCentral account and looked for that link but did not find it. Has anyone else found it and successfully logged in?

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  13. Well well well, it looks like it's gonna take few days for them to update us on GrandCenteral. This is what Google Says on the their Blog:

    "If you're already using GrandCentral, over the next couple days, you will receive instructions in your GrandCentral inbox on how to start using Google Voice. We'll be opening it up to others soon, so if you'd like to be notified when that happens, please send us your email address."

    Last paragraph on this page:
    URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/IESIj_L3RHY/here-comes-google-voice.html

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  14. Ahh, was wondering how I was going to find out about upgrading.
    That is AWESOME!

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  15. I'm a die hard GC user and am totally excited. Its been a long time of waiting to see if GC would die or not.


    From Google Voice Blog:
    "We have also integrated GrandCentral with your Google account and your Google address book."

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  16. I haven't been upgraded yet :( Still on the old GrandCentral.

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  17. how do they plan to make money with this service?

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  18. @Ben Garland - Correct, it would be a whole new number, so you would lose the m2m connection.

    The overall benefit, from the original GrandCentral concept, is one number to rule them all. I can give my GrandCentral number out to everyone, they call that and it rings whatever phones I tell it to (home, cell, work, whatever), one voicemail for all calls (vs work, home and cell answering machines/vmail), the ability to set "do not disturb" and have all calls go directly to vmail (a very nice thing on my day off, since my GC number is on my business card), etc.

    I haven't used GC to the full extent yet since I do not have a direct line at work, thus GC can't dial directly to my extension, but for home/cell - I only give out the GC number now. With adding SMS through Google Voice, I really have zero reason to give out my cell number ever.

    I wonder though if it'll be possible to send SMS via Google Voice from my cell using SMS (perhaps the mobile ver of the website though?).

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  19. @Kraft :-) to answer my own question via SMS, from the Google Voice Blog:

    "2. SMS support: When somebody sends an SMS to your Google Voice number, that SMS will be relayed to each of your forwarding cell phones and stored in your inbox. You can reply from your computer or from any of your mobile phones and the conversation will be saved in your inbox. You'll be able to read through the conversation thread and search for past messages."

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  20. Slight correction: You will NOT lose M2M minutes; you just won't be able to use them through Google Voice. Existing services will not change. You will simply have the option of centralizing the various methods of communication under one umbrella. This is a good thing for most of us, a bad thing for the paranoid. If your calls are sensitive in nature, simply don't use GV/GC for those calls.

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  21. Just got my upgrade link!!!!! I will let you know...

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  22. Love the contact integration, kept all my Gmail groups. Down side is I now have to re-setup all my custom voice mail greetings... small price to pay.

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  23. @Anonymous - Thanks for the clarification. You would lose your M2M connection with folks you call if you dial from or they dial into your Google number for that phone call. Any call directly from/to your mobile qualifies for M2M per your service plan with your provider, yadda yadda.

    @All - GrandCentral added this at the top of my inbox on the old system:
    "Your account is not yet ready to be upgraded. Please check back shortly."

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  24. *I got the upgrade link (refreshed the GC inbox, no e-mail yet).
    *Upgrading - note: you have to rerecord your name, outbound greeting and custom webcall settings.
    *Currently sitting on https://www.grandcentral.com/account/glogin_finish_migrate
    *Rcv'd a "Oops. Looks like we had trouble upgrading your account. Please try again in a few minutes." error message.
    *Instantly tried again - the /glogin_finish page looked much cleaner and it migrated within seconds (as opposed as over 2 minutes the first time).
    *Migrated! First, I must confirm terms and services and indicate if I want voicemails transcribed.
    * I have a balance of $1 for international calls already.
    * Cool.

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  25. Finally, another service that shares the Gmail address book.

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  26. Any info on a planned integration into Google Apps for business use?

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  27. << Any info on a planned integration into Google Apps for business use? >>

    Definitely. Here's a hint:

    "You can make international calls through Google Voice at an affordable price. To get started, you'll need to purchase credit through Google Checkout. (...) You may see a note that your credit card will be charged by Google and "GOOGLE *AppsPremier " will appear on your credit card statement. Please rest assured that if you used the Add credit link in Google Voice to add credit, your purchase is for Google Voice credit for international calling. We'll be changing the charge name for your credit card statement soon."

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  28. Here are the international calling rates.

    Belgium $0.02
    Brazil $0.04
    China $0.02
    Germany $0.02
    India $0.07
    Mexico $0.05
    United Kingdom $0.02
    United Kingdom, Mobile $0.19
    etc.

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  29. I have used Grand Central for a couple of years and am hooked on it. HOWEVER, after migrating to Google Voice, the system will not allow me access since I am logging in from outside the US. I can somewhat understand that Google does not allow new users yet from outside the US, but what about us Grand Central folks who have migrated (without being warned!) - are we now locked out of our accounts? What can I do?? The only # US people use to leave me messages is my GC account, and now I cannot access the account!

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  30. Use a US proxy to bypass Google's geolocation. Try one from this list.

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  31. Thanks Alex - proxys tend to confuse me. Any suggestions on where I can read up on them and figure out how to use the site you referred me to?
    Also, any idea if Google will be opening up usage for us stranded souls?

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  32. @ Alex: you made my day! Thanks!

    Here's my updated wish list for GApps:
    1. GVoice
    2. GGrive
    3. GReader (long over due, dear Gmen!)

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  33. @shekala: I'm sorry that you lost access to a service that you once had and hopefully GV will open up for you soon. However, you had to know that you were on borrowed time. GC was always a US only service. Though a few Canadians just signed up and got in there were others that used "other" means.

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  34. I dont need a US #
    There are no international DID which is not nice.

    Another drawback I sent GS feedback couple of years ago and they didnt fix it. From all SIP providers their "upgraded" service works only with Gizmo. This is not free communication!

    Overall not cool

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  35. I have used GC with Gizmo for over a year So I'm hoping that GV will work the same. I don't understand what n1pster is saying about Gizmo, anyone know how GV is working with Gizmo?

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  36. Hi! sorry for the comment, it has nothing to see with google voice which I hope to use soon!
    Alex, please, could you limit the view of the blog messages in your very interesting blog cause it loads very slowly sometimes and anyway your blog is so interesting that I think everyone is following it daily and do not lose nothing about it whenever it's posted... please :)

    Continue like this, Alex, you're perfectly complementing the google experience.

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  37. Regarding shekala's described issue: Does this mean when I travel internationally, I'm not going to be able to access my voicemail by computer? This was part of the appeal of Grandcentral for me; that when I travel, I am not cut off from my usual communications.

    I can understand restricting sign-ups to US IPs, but to restrict all logins would seem to diminish the utility of the service for regular international travelers.

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  38. google voice is fantastic. It is a great upgrade from Grandcentral which was pretty good on its own. But Google voice is really usable without compromising your communications. It is interesting because now you will be calling a person rather than a place (home etc.). So, for example, husbands and wives will have separate numbers. Cell phones initiated this change but Google Voice is completing it.

    http://geekideas.blogspot.com

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  39. I would like an invite or unused grand central account. I will compensate for help
    Toddl56@hotmail.com

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  40. "Red Leatherman said on March 13, 2009 9:50 AM PDT:
    I have used GC with Gizmo for over a year So I'm hoping that GV will work the same. I don't understand what n1pster is saying about Gizmo, anyone know how GV is working with Gizmo?"

    The problem is GrandCentral only supports Gizmo and no other SIP provider, i.e. freeworlddialup, sipgate, etc.

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  41. Everyone is missing the coolest Feature- Absolutely FREE outbound and Inbound calling. If you connect this service with a free Gizmo account, you can receive and place normal telephone calls to normal POTS numbers--- ALL FOR FREE!!! I have my Gizmo account connected to a WiFi SIP phone, and thanks to Google Voice/ GrandCentral I now can recieve and make calls to anyone---- For Free

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  42. What is the best/cheapest WiFi SIP phone? I've been trying to find one, but they are few and far between.

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  43. Does Grand Dialer work after migrating to Google Voice?

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  44. I've had a GrandCentral account for a few years; I didn't use it much but it was still active, but I haven't been migrated yet. All I have is a message at the top of my GC inbox that says "Your account will soon be available for upgrade to Google Voice. Thank you for your patience". Anyone else still waiting?

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  45. I think what everyone is missing here is that Grand Central service allows for calls from the US to international numbers for FREE. No more with google voice you have to pay. This is a HUGE downgrade. I won't be upgrading anytime soon.

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  46. I have had GC for about 2 years now and when it went over to GV i was excited because they could lend some functionality to it that maybe GC could not. However, I have not been able to log into GV at all yet. I have the service still and the number works fine, I just can't adjust any settings or anything. I tried to get to the site and see what is up but the GC site tells me that I have upgraded and that I access by logging into google voice. I try that and I can't get logged in with any email that I try and no place for help that I found. HELP!!!!!!!

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  47. I cant understand why Google just invited me to use Google Voice but when using the link in the email i get "...is not available in your country..." ?!?!?

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  48. Why oh Why do we have to wait for this in New Zealand , small we may be but savvy we are. Come on Google make our day!

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  49. How long until this is available in New Zealand? I received an invite to Google Voice though wasn't told it was US only until near the end of registration :(

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  50. wow, you are all nerds. every single one of ya ( apart from all of those that are in nz!!! ) wwwwwwoooooooooooppppppp

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  51. man, this looks and sounds really complicated.

    help?

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