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GrandCentral Reborn As Google Voice

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the probably-should-try-that-out-again dept.

206

Some anonymous person wrote in to say that Google has relaunched and rebranded GrandCentral as "Google Voice." The article says it will "revolutionize telephones. It unifies your phone numbers, transcribes your voice mail, blocks telemarketers and elevates text messages to first-class communication citizens." Sadly, the voicemail didn't integrate very nicely w/ my phone back in the day, so I guess I should give it a shot.

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Google farts... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27165897)

...Slashdot smells it. More at 11.

Re:Google farts... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166099)

Google farts and redirects you to: http://wittyrpg.com/ [wittyrpg.com] BEST Online RPG. EVER.

Can't wait (5, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27165953)

I signed up to be notified when it's available to new users.

https://services.google.com/fb/forms/googlevoiceinvite/

Re:Can't wait (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166235)

I signed up for http://www.wittyrpg.com/ [wittyrpg.com] instead. Way more interesting and no waiting for the service to be available to new users.

Re:Can't wait (5, Interesting)

SputnikPanic (927985) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166851)

I don't know, I'm becoming more and more wary about all the personal information Google is acquiring, and this is another area where Google is able to collect and store such information. Gmail, Calendar, Blogger, Desktop and now essentially, Phone Manager. The way things are going, soon Google will will be able to set your alarm clock for you without your direct input. They'll just know what time you need to wake up and voila.

Re:Can't wait (4, Funny)

ultrafunkula (547970) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166945)

I use Google calendar to send me an SMS reminder each morning. I've set my phone up to play an alarm call for these SMS messages from Google - voila, a Google alarm clock. I just need to work out how to schedule the coffee maker and toaster and I'm all set...

Re:Can't wait (4, Insightful)

Sparhawk2k (680674) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167557)

While that's cool I find the "alarm" function on my phone a bit easier...

I was hoping (3, Insightful)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27165961)

It would be a voice synth or something, that was really high quality. I was disapointed.

Link spamming (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166647)

Downvote OP.

Re:I was hoping (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27167435)

If only we had a nice phonetic language like japanese, you could just use vocaloid

Pleasing Apple (4, Informative)

MacColossus (932054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27165971)

Maybe Google gave it up for undisclosed cash to Apple since they are using the same term for a new type of multicore support in Snow Leopard. Eric Schmidt sits on Apple's board. Crazier things have happened.

Re:Pleasing Apple (4, Informative)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167365)

Maybe Google gave [up the term "GrandCentral"] for undisclosed cash to Apple since they are using the same term for a new type of multicore support in Snow Leopard

I think this has more to do with branding. Google likes to put their name in products they take over. "GrandCentral" doesn't sound like a Google product. "Google Voice" does (and tells you roughly what it's all about). When Google bought Keyhole [wikipedia.org] , they re-branded the product "Google Earth".

In fact take a look at this list of Google acquisitions [wikipedia.org] . Most of them were re-branded by Google, and most of the new names contain "Google" in them (with limited exceptions, like AdSense, which has a strong brand of its own).

For something like YouTube, they didn't change the name since it already had a strong brand and following. But GrandCentral? It didn't have a huge following or mindshare. So rebranding it just makes sense. I doubt Apple had anything to do with it.

Voicemail... (5, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166015)

"Im sorry, I can't take your call right now, but if you leave your name, phone number and message, I will get back to you as soon as I am out of Beta...."

Re:Voicemail... (5, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166685)

"Thank you for leaving your message. Our content parsing algorithm has found that you were calling about 'were you Thursday night I saw you with her!' Would you like to hear some targeted advertisments for singles websites? We've automatically updated the contextual advertising database to reflect on the recipient's possible need for STD testing."

Re:Voicemail... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166931)

How about divorce lawyers?

Re:Voicemail... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27167523)

How about just responding with Google Calendar results?

Free features (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166025)

Last I heard all their features were free, but I kinda felt bad because I knew the ones I liked could disappear at any time because that was what they said the plan was after they left beta.
All features would be free during the beta, and then they said the "core" ones would be free after that with the rest being paid.

Waiting for my upgrade... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166061)

I have been a Grand Central user for well over a year, and the biggest reason I did not use them as my primary number was because SMS redirection was not available. I cannot WAIT to get my upgrade in Grand Central, hopefully soon! ::crosses fingers::

Logitek

Re:Waiting for my upgrade... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166473)

No need to wait [google.com] :

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.

Re:Waiting for my upgrade... (1)

klausboop (322537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166955)

It has not rolled out to all users yet (as of 3/12 in the AM), similar to when they add new features to GMail it appears that it has to roll through the network. I confirmed this in my own Grand Central account.

Only US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166141)

Seems this service is USA only atleast currently. It isnt really stated on the site. Wish they'd expand it to europe soon.

Anyone know any such european alternatives?

Paradox (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166159)

When GOOGLE usurps something it is called being "reborn". When the other guy usurps something, well you know the old embrace, extend, extinguish rhetoric.....

Re:Paradox (3, Insightful)

Dolohov (114209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167049)

I was just thinking the same thing - Google is in many ways an engine of innovation, and they bring a lot of cash to bear on a problem. But as you suggest, the same was true of Microsoft in the late 80s and early 90s. The only real difference is attitude, and attitudes change.

As someone who makes use of Google's services, I think this is great, but I can't help but wonder whether this is ultimately stifling advancement in the field. Google doesn't NEED to innovate in voice, it just WANTS to. In some ways, that results in a better product: they take risks a small software house dares not. But they're not as committed to innovating, and they drive a lot of people out of the market. Gmail is a great service, and Google continues to do new and interesting things. But I haven't seen a single new webmail service since Gmail went live, and that's a little worrisome.

As a software developer, I used to worry that Microsoft might find my particular niche potentially profitable. Now I worry that Google might think it's cool.

Re:Paradox (4, Interesting)

Drakonik (1193977) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167329)

That reminds me of a quote from Sid Meier's Aplha Centauri by entrepreneur Nwabudike Morgan: "We are not a monopoly. Our product is simply so good that no one chooses to compete with us."

I'm not terribly concerned about Google, to be honest. I know they have a lot of my personal data. But they provide high quality products/services and don't treat me like shit. They're reliable and friendly and trustworthy. Microsoft, on the other hand, has always been shifty in one way or another, and their products have always seemed only partially baked and ready.

Benevolent dictators are okay when they're actually benevolent. So far, Google hasn't done anything to wrong me.

Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (3, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166165)

I don't want a revolutionary new phone - the basic idea of the telephone was got pretty much spot on in the 19th century - talk into mic , listen from earpiece. What I want is a phone service thats reliable , cheap and works in an emergency. What I DO NOT want is a phone service that gives me a friggin "select from the following options" load of BS when I lift up the receiver! I have enough of that crap when phoning help desks. As for listening in when someone leaves a message - wooooo! Someone correct me but I believe you've been able to do that with steam powered cassette based answerphones since the 1970s.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166299)

While I agree with you on the "select from the following options" comment, the real benefit for me with GrandCentral is the phone aggregation feature. I don't have to keep telling my family and friends a new phone number, and I can have calls ring at any and all of my various phones (home, work, cell, skype). Is that "revolutionary"? I suppose so.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166585)

The phone number aggregation thing is not exactly new. If you have a Vonage account, you can already do that. Vonage calls this feature 'SimulRing [vonage.com] '. When someone calls your Vonage phone, it will simultaneously ring up to 5 phone numbers of your choosing (home, work, cell, etc.).

What I want to know is, is GrandCentral/Google Voice better?

For example, one problem I have with SimulRing is that if my cell phone is turned off (dead battery, just turned it off, whatever), Sprint's voicemail will grab the call, preventing it from ringing into Vonage, which also means that voicemails intended for my Vonage voicemail end up in my Sprint voicemail.

Furthermore, is there any way to customize where calls get routed, which phone numbers get routed and which ones don't, etc.?

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (2, Informative)

Scutter (18425) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166757)

The phone number aggregation thing is not exactly new. If you have a Vonage account, you can already do that. Vonage calls this feature 'SimulRing'. When someone calls your Vonage phone, it will simultaneously ring up to 5 phone numbers of your choosing (home, work, cell, etc.).

What I want to know is, is GrandCentral/Google Voice better?

GrandCentral doesn't require you to subscribe to a VoiP service, and it's free. I have DSL, which requires a landline. It's not cost effective for me to switch to a cell/VoiP phone choice since I still have to pay for a land line.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167369)

GrandCentral doesn't require you to subscribe to a VoiP service, and it's free.

Well, yeah, that part is obvious. ;) I'm looking to use Google Voice in place of SimulRing, but I'll still be keeping my Vonage account.

I have DSL, which requires a landline.

Your no ILECs or CLECs in your area offer DSL over dry copper pair? I had DSL over dry copper pair and it was fast. Too bad the company that offered it went out of business. :(

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27167621)

I have DSL, which requires a landline. It's not cost effective for me to switch to a cell/VoiP phone choice since I still have to pay for a land line.

You should check your DSL provider. Most offer "dry-loop" dsl lines that don't require an actual "in-service" phone line. AT&T offers it (although they don't advertise it). Pre-uVerse days, I had a dry-loop dsl internet connection used with Vonage voice phone service. Loved it!

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (2, Informative)

tlacuache (768218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167237)

How GrandCentral handles the cell phone dead battery voicemail problem you described is it requires you to press 1 to accept the incoming call. That way it never gets picked up by your answering machine.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (1)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167035)

I signed up just for the reasons you mention. What I'd wish for is that Vonage offer a similar set of features.

I know, forward to my Vonage number, and I do. What I've learned is that calls that come from GC to Vonage pick up a significant delay.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (4, Informative)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166369)

Really? I didn't know that steam powered cassette based answerphones would let you listen in on a voicemail to your home line even though you were in the office. Like they always say...you learn something new every day.

What I DO NOT want is a phone service that gives me a friggin "select from the following options" load of BS when I lift up the receiver

Good news. If you had RTFA you would have read the part where it says this is optional.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (-1, Troll)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166531)

Right, I never RTFA , I'm just clairevoyant and just magically knew it mentioned the options when you lifted the phone.

Muppet.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (1, Flamebait)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166699)

Well, then explain how the article said

Google Voice eliminates some of the annoyances of its predecessor. You can, if you wish, turn off that âoepress 1, press 2â option, so when the phone rings, you can just pick it up and start talking.

yet you didn't seem to know it said that. And as that article indicated that this feature existed (in mandatory form, as suggested by that quote) on the old GrandCentral service, then you wouldn't have needed to be "clairevoyant" to know...you'd just need to be familiar with the old service. You DO, however, have to be a jackass to reply the way you did.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (0, Flamebait)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167241)

"yet you didn't seem to know it said that."

Which bit of "I don't want" means "I don't realise they're optional"??

Muppet.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167751)

Wait, so your complaint is that you don't care whether or not you ever have to use or experience a feature, you simply don't want the feature to exist in any form whatsoever? So like, for example, if you didn't like javascript, then even though Firefox lets you disable javascript completely, you wouldn't want to use Firefox because of that? Wow.

P.S. If your are going to be a jackass and keep referring to me as a Muppet (which doesn't seem to make any sense), then can you at least give me the dignity of being a particular Muppet? I like playing drums, so how about Animal? And for you, how about Oscar?

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166693)

I didn't know that steam powered cassette based answerphones would let you listen in on a voicemail to your home line even though you were in the office.

Sure. All you need is a walkie-talkie next to the answering machine, and a robot to push the button whenever the machine starts recording.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166791)

Don't forget that your walkie talkie needs one hell of a range. And of course, you need to be comfortable with letting any random person listen in on your voicemail.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (1)

acohen1 (1454445) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166417)

Read the description, "You can, if you wish, turn off that press 1, press 2 option, so when the phone rings, you can just pick it up and start talking." Agreed that old analog tech you can hear the voice mail as it is being left, but that doesn't work well with cell phones and more modern voice mail systems.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (1)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166823)

What I DO NOT want is a phone service that gives me a friggin "select from the following options" load of BS when I lift up the receiver! I have enough of that crap when phoning help desks.

According to the article, they've made it an option to turn that off:

Google Voice eliminates some of the annoyances of its predecessor. You can, if you wish, turn off that "press 1, press 2" option, so when the phone rings, you can just pick it up and start talking.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (1)

Drakonik (1193977) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167359)

"Back in my day, a phone was a phone and we didn't have any of you young hoodlums' fancy options. now get off my lawn!"

Hooray, you like simplicity. FUCKING GREAT FOR YOU. Buy a simple phone plan and a simple phone for yourself, and let those who DO want fancy options and features have them.

Re:Another so called "Revolution"? Yeah ok ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27167759)

FTA:

Google Voice eliminates some of the annoyances of its predecessor. You can, if you wish, turn off that âoepress 1, press 2â option, so when the phone rings, you can just pick it up and start talking.

Wish they would use ANI instead of CID (4, Interesting)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166285)

Since Caller ID has become virtually useless for identifying anyone other than friends and family (it is regularly blocked or spoofed), it would be nice if Google Voice gave you the option to view the ANI info (which is what is used internally by the phone systems for billing and E-911, and is generally considered unspoofable). I've been waiting for someone to do so for a long time.

Re:Wish they would use ANI instead of CID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166705)

You know how VOIP customers have issues getting routed to the right E-911 center and having correct information sent to the E-911 center? Telemarketing companies are willing to pay extra for the same obfuscation...

Re:Wish they would use ANI instead of CID (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166895)

ANI and VOIP don't play well together because the ANI (which is accurate) will point to the POP where the VOIP system connects to the POTS.... which may be very far from the VOIP user.

But that ANI (is* accurate, in that it will lead you to the actual VOIP company that delivered the call to the POTS. From there, they have records that identify the actual source.

So while ANI+VOIP isn't good for E911, it does work well for identifying telemarketers and suing their ass.

Re:Wish they would use ANI instead of CID (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166959)

I was under the impression that the reason for the E-911 problems was not because there was no ANI data (or incorrect data), but because the ANI data alone wasn't sufficient to identify the caller's location. In order for that to work, they need to be able to export the address from their account information and have it imported into the E-911 system.

Even if you don't have access to that extra info, you still have the ANI info (which is more like a unique key), which you can then use to identify future calls from the same caller.

If I'm wrong, someone please correct me.

Re:Wish they would use ANI instead of CID (2, Interesting)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167131)

I have a few different accounts with a European VoIP provider that I use for calls to the USA. I can customize the CID but they all send the same ANI (some random out-of-service number, but it's the same every time). So in this case (which I am sure is not unique), the CID is actually more informative. It doesn't say anything useful about my location but at least it identifies me in some way, rather than only identifying my telephone company.

Re:Wish they would use ANI instead of CID (1)

lefiz (1475731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167361)

You are generally correct. E-911 passes two important pieces of information to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). One piece is the phone number of the caller, which is delivered through ANI. The second piece of information is the caller's location, delivered in a separate SS7 element know as ALI--Automatic Location Identifier. On a standard copper POTS line, ALI can be determined just by the physical circuit over which the call is being placed. For VoIP, which does not run over a permanent circuit, ALI information has to be "made up" and inserted in the SS7 routing information by the provider.

This information could theoretically come from the account information, but is not done this way in practice. Many consumers use different billing addresses from the primary location where they use their VoIP. There are now two common methods for populating ALI info.

Over the top VoIP providers, such as Vonage, have a big notice about E-911 issues with their service, and make each customer populate their own ALI information in their online account. This is somewhat risky, since these VoIP service tend to be nomadic-I can use my Vonage ATA to connect to any broadband connection, and if I change my location, it is up to me to update my ALI status. (There are horror stories of people setting up at a hotel, having a heart attack, calling 911, and having the ambulance show up at their house).

Providers of integrated VoIP, such as Comcast, have developed ways to use the IP address associated with the VoIP call to lookup the physical address of the caller. This works because Comcast is also providing the underlying broadband connection, which is tied to a particular physical location.

The FCC discussed these complications in a 2005 Order [fcc.gov] which required providers like Vonage to take extra steps to notify customers about the 911 risks, and to collect accurate ALI information.

Re:Wish they would use ANI instead of CID (5, Informative)

lefiz (1475731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166941)

I'm not quite sure why this is modded as funny, since CallerID and ANI ("Automatic Number Identification") are actually two separate elements of a call as noted above. ANI is a built in signaling component of SS7 that generally cannot be modified by the calling party. See definition here. [bandwidth.com]

Still, although ANI may not be "spoofable," it can be manipulated or uninformative. For example, any call placed from any phone in my office carries a general company ANI even though the call could be originated from any of hundreds of phone numbers owned by the firm. We also have off-premise extensions (OPXs) that connect to the office PBX via SIP. Calls placed from those OPXs have the same ANI as calls made from the physical office, which would be deleterious if a call was placed to 911 from one of these phone. (We have implemented a safety workaround for this, but the point still stands.)

As a current GrandCentral user... (1, Interesting)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166297)

I think I'd better keep an empty bladder for the next couple of days, so I don't pee my pants with excitement when I get the upgrade notice.

Aw man, if I had an Android phone syncing my Gmail/Google Voice contacts, too... darn you, AT&T! Hurry up with that!

Re:As a current GrandCentral user... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166441)

Buy an unlocked dev phone and you are good to go. Sure it's only edge data but it's really not that bad. Plus you have root on your phone and could play with some of the dev builds. :)

http://developer.android.com/guide/developing/device.html#dev-phone-1 [android.com]

Re:As a current GrandCentral user... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27167323)

Google Talk has been "COMING SOON" for the last two years. I am very tired of these "coming soon" announcements. I think that Google should refrain from these BS announcements and keep their announcements to there current list of GrandCentral users. When they are rolling it out to the general public, then I will gladly read the BS that Google is offering something that will be revolutionary.

Re:As a current GrandCentral user... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27167635)

It's Google Voice, not Google Talk, you insensitive clod!

Loving it (1)

AskFirefly (757114) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166335)

I've been using GrandCentral for about a year and a half now. The level of control is just stunning. One number that rings your cell phone, home phone and work phone at once; pick up the call from any of them. Transfer phones during the call. Different greetings for friends, family, work, and other contacts. Listen to the message as it's being left. Pick up the call during the message if you like. Voice mails are available to download as mp3 files. Need to save an important message? You can easily. I've saved messages about projects with other files in my project directory. No more looking for that message. Nice! Call anyone in your address book from your address book. This is free now, but will be a paid service. I knew going in this wouldn't be free forever - free outgoing calls to anywhere in the country?? I hope they don't overcharge for this - if it's reasonable, it's totally worth a fee. This service is great and quite solid. If you're waiting for it, hold on... It's worth the wait!

Incongruous (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166375)

What's the deal with this statement in the summary?

"Sadly, the voicemail didn't integrate very nicely w/ my phone back in the day, so I guess I should give it a shot."

What's different between that and, "Sadly, Windows didn't work well for me in 2002, so I guess I should try Windows 7?" Or "Sadly, I hated my Nissan Altima from 2004, so my next purchase should be an Altima from 2009?"

I'm not saying your shouldn't try it out, but that sentence reads like a big fat non sequitur.

Re:Incongruous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166511)

By law, Slashdot summaries are required to have at least one non-sequitur in them. It encourages us to hit the "Reply" button.

Re:Incongruous (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166523)

What's the deal with this statement in the summary?

"Sadly, the voicemail didn't integrate very nicely w/ my phone back in the day, so I guess I should give it a shot."

What's different between that and, "Sadly, Windows didn't work well for me in 2002, so I guess I should try Windows 7?" Or "Sadly, I hated my Nissan Altima from 2004, so my next purchase should be an Altima from 2009?"

I'm not saying your shouldn't try it out, but that sentence reads like a big fat non sequitur.

Actually, it would be more like, "I loved Windows 3.11, but it didn't connect to the Internet well. Maybe I'll give XP a shot."

It's not that he didn't like the system. One feature did not work well for him. That feature was a deal breaker. Now that a new version is out, he's hoping that one feature will work so he can benefit from the rest.

Still can't port your existing number (3, Interesting)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166405)

I've had a GrandCentral account for years, never used it. First thing I did today was login and search the help for "port number". As it has said for the past few years:

"Although you can't currently port your existing number to GrandCentral, we hope to offer this option in the near future. Check out our blog to stay up-to-date with GrandCentral news and learn about new features."

If I have to give the people who call me a new number, it's not worth it. Maybe if I was moving and was getting a new number anyway ( though cell phones and Vonage don't require this ), then I'd use it.

Re:Still can't port your existing number (3, Informative)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166609)

The whole point is to not have to give out your real number!

I've been using grand central for about a year. I love it. It allows me to keep my cell number private.

I also use the G1 Central app for android. It is the best solution out there.

Re:Still can't port your existing number (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167315)

Unfortunately, though, when you call out from your home number, it would transmit your home number instead of your google voice number.

One solution is to block the number, which is not what I'd usually want. I want people to know I was calling them, but I'd want the caller ID to display the number they should call me back on.

The other solution is to use a computer to setup the call (in which case google will call you and then connect you), or call into google voice, then enter the number it should forward it to (for when you don't have a computer handy), but that would be annoying to do that every time you try to make a call

Using it for a day (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166411)

I quite literally used my invite to GC yesterday expecting to use it as is. I'm totally thrilled to see it becoming something even greater!

There is an app for Android called "G1 Central" -- it integrates well with the G1. Hopefully Google will release an even better app or, better yet, integrate Voice with the entire dialing, contacts, and voice mail system. I'm sure T-Mobile would love to have the load off!

Re:Using it for a day (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166601)

Hey, G1 Central author here. Glad to hear you like the app; it's been a lot of fun to write. I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do with Google Voice once I get the option to upgrade.

P.S. - G1 Central is available under the Apache 2 license. http://svn.evancharlton.com/wsvn/G1Central [evancharlton.com]
Project page here: http://evancharlton.com/projects/g1central [evancharlton.com]

Wait, now I won't be as cool (1)

ChayesFSS (896146) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166443)

Everyone's always like, wow what's that service you use, can you hook me up? I'm like, sorry babe but it's beta you know, no more invites. Now the common folk will have access? GREAT, my address book will hopefully slim down!

GrandCentral is spam filtering for your phone (4, Interesting)

ShannaraFan (533326) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166465)

I'll admit it - I still have a landline phone in my house. My satellite receivers require it, my DSL service requires the line, I feel better knowing it's there in case of an emergency, AND it keeps my teenagers from using up all of our shared cell minutes (the boy used 2700 minutes all by himself last month). In spite of these reasons, I was growing to hate that phone. We get maybe 2 legit calls on that phone a month, the rest are all telemarketers, a dozen a day sometimes, almost always between 6:00pm-9:00pm. It was driving me nuts.

Along comes GrandCentral. Now, my home number is call-forwarded to GrandCentral. From there, I've whitelisted the numbers that are allowed to call us. Some of those numbers ring my cell, some ring my wife's, some ring both. Everything else goes to voicemail or is blocked as spam. Blocked callers hear a "number not in service" message. Voicemails are sent to us as emails.

Very slick, VERY convenient, and it's removed a serious annoyance. Bliss...

Re:GrandCentral is spam filtering for your phone (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27167121)

" I was growing to hate that phone. We get maybe 2 legit calls on that phone a month, the rest are all telemarketers, a dozen a day sometimes, almost always between 6:00pm-9:00pm. It was driving me nuts.

So why didn't you sign up with the Do Not Call Registry?

Also, you can record the "sit" tones - the 3-tone "number not in service" tones that you hear - onto your answering machine, and the telemarketers predictive auto-dialer will hang up. As an added bonus, if someone calls you long-distance, they can still (on some systems) talk for free for a minute or two (any more than that and they'll get nailed for phone fraud, same as any other phone phreak).

Vonage? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166483)

As exciting as this would be, vonage is already doing it.

They will ring multiple numbers at the same time, provide web-based accces to voicemail, send you an email when you get a voicemail, and transcribe voicemails if you feel the need.

Re:Vonage? (2, Informative)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167447)

I'm a Vonage user. Yes, they do partially do this, but in a MUCH more limited way.

1) There is no option that I know of to screen the calls via voicemail.
2) They don't have any useful way of blocking callers (you can block anonymous, but thats it)
3) The system isn't configurable to forward/simulring individual numbers differently. I find this to be a problem. I have my home (vonage) number simulring my cell phone. Problem is, when I'm trying to call my wife at home, the phone at home ring once, then the simulring to my cell phone kicks in, but since I'm initiating a call, it goes straight to voicemail, which counts as answering the call, so the home phone stops ringing and I get my own voicemail.
4) Theres no way to transfer a call from one phone to another.
5) I think Vonage charges a fee per voicemail to do the transcription.

That's just for starters.

Headset (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166525)

I'd love to be able to use any computer with a headset as a phone, much as I already do, but with a phone number for incoming calls. Will this be possible?

Re:Headset (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166887)

I'd love to be able to use any computer with a headset as a phone, much as I already do, but with a phone number for incoming calls. Will this be possible?

Been doing this for many years, using a SIP client and my laptop. Someone also sells a USB device that includes software so you can quickly install on any Windows PC.

That is interesting (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166737)

They are now listening in and converting Voice to Text. I suspect that they are using an AI to figure out the heurestics of converting voice to Text. At some point, that will be useful in a number of new areas. Not just better transcription, but will be EXTREMELY useful for selling products to the Feds. Want to know exactly what Abdula is saying to his Cousin Obama in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia? Of course, that will lead to new translators as well. It could convert nicely from Arabic to English.

Re:That is interesting (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167111)

Better yet, with newer technology that can track variances in the voice to determine if there is a high probability of lies in the statement can I sign up for a flag that would say "This person is probably lying to you in this voicemail" ?

Imagine the usefulness.

Calling out the tinfoil hat brigade (2, Insightful)

dustwun (662589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166755)

So, now instead of listening to 3 different phone numbers for one person, the NSA simply has to listen to one, or just play the calls back later at their convenience. It's PERFECT! /I am not currently a tinfoil subscriber, I just channel their logic sometimes.

Re:Calling out the tinfoil hat brigade (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167041)

Does not matter to us. Bush said that we could listen to all conversations and we do.

With that said, you do not have to tell all your friends about this. And yes, your mom went on to tell Harriet, her new beautician that you are sounding more and more tin foilish. Our suggestion is that you drop such silly conversations.

Free phone numbers? (1)

sanjosanjo (804469) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166759)

Anybody know how they (or Grandcentral back then) can afford to give dedicated phone numbers? I wonder what it costs to obtain and maintain a real phone number like that.

Re:Free phone numbers? (2, Informative)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166991)

In bulk they are almost nothing, in the cents-per-month range.

Where does the paycheck come from? (5, Insightful)

Contusion (1332851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166771)

How does google plan to make money off of this? TFA mentions that they'll be transcribing voicemail to text in near real-time. Will they also be sifting those voicemails for marketing keywords? If my buddy calls to brag about his new car, will I be seeing BMW ads next time I log into gmail?

*Pulling the tinfoil hat even lower over the brow now* Will Google Talk also have the ability to monitor calls made through their service for marketing info?
Yeah, it sounds like a great service, but what's the cost in privacy?

Re:Where does the paycheck come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27167221)

Yes, of course.

Re:Where does the paycheck come from? (1)

caseih (160668) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167487)

Quite likely, actually.

As for the cost of the phone system itself, GrandCentral's money-making plan was very simple, actually. All telcos charge you to make calls to numbers on their network. This is why so many networks have voice mail prompts that are so stinking long. "Press * if you want to page this person, or press 5 to leave them a message, or just wait for the tone." It's all designed to keep callers on the line longer so they can charge them more. Of course American cell companies double-dip, but that's another story.

So all google has to do is charge more to incoming calls than it spends on calling your other phones. By using voip and other cheap providers, Google can break even quite easily. Combine that with ad revenue and they should make a nice profit.

As for ads, I could see them forcing you to listen to an adwords ad before hearing your voice mail, or playing an ad before connecting a call from your address book to a phone (that's how I use grand central to call anywhere in north america for free). I think that'd be acceptable in general.

The privacy cost remains to be seen. I'm starting to think that, rather than porting my number to grandcentral someday, I'd rather port my number to sipphone.com and set up asterisk.

Could Latitude make this smarter? (1)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166785)

I sit at work all day with one phone on my desk and one in my pocket. It'd drive my colleagues (and me) nuts if they were both to ring at the same time.

If this could use Latitude to see where my cellphone is, then I could set up certain behaviours, like:

* If my mobile is at home during working hours, chances are I forgot it - ring the desk phone.
* If it's at work during working hours, don't ring the desk phone.

Just when I thought it was awesome.... (1, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166797)

Google Voice Basics: Requirements
Print

To use Google Voice, you just need a touch-tone phone and a Flash-enabled browser

Oh well. It was -almost- really cool.

My experience with GrandCentral (1)

TastyCakes (917232) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166911)

I signed up for GrandCentral back when it was pretty new, but I never really used it for the sole reason that I had to be at my computer to get my voice mails. If I was wandering around and just barely miss a call, I don't know who it was and what's more (if I recall correctly) I don't know who was calling either, because it's the "GrandCentral" number that comes into your phone. I guess if I had an internet phone I could get around that, but I didn't and wasn't about to buy one (along with a plan for it) just for the ability to have two phones with one voicemail. I also agree with the posts above, because I didn't hand out the number to anyone, I would freak out when once in a blue moon someone would call that number by accident and both my phones would ring at once. I don't know if this stuff has been addressed since google took over, and I guess i won't know since I've moved back to Canada and it doesn't appear to be supported here. Ah well...

Re:My experience with GrandCentral (1)

TastyCakes (917232) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166935)

Sorry, I mean I wouldn't hear a message and wouldn't know who was calling.

Re:My experience with GrandCentral (1)

OzRoy (602691) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167091)

Looks like they have fixed that then
https://www.google.com/voice/about# [google.com]

If you call your own number then it will give you your voicemail.

Re:My experience with GrandCentral (1)

klausboop (322537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167151)

I signed up for GrandCentral back when it was pretty new, but I never really used it for the sole reason that I had to be at my computer to get my voice mails. If I was wandering around and just barely miss a call, I don't know who it was and what's more (if I recall correctly) I don't know who was calling either, because it's the "GrandCentral" number that comes into your phone.

While I think you're right that it *used* to be that way, and that it still *defaults* that way, for some time (at least a year?), Grand Central has had a Caller ID option in their settings tab where you can chose, a la:

"What Caller ID do you want us to display when GrandCentral calls your forwarding phones?

  • Display Caller's number; I will know who's calling before picking up (default)
  • Display my GrandCentral number; I will know if the call came through my GrandCentral number
    "

Also, if you call your Grand Central number from one of the phones you've told it to ring, it takes you right to your voice mail menu: you don't have to be at a computer to get your voice mail.

Re:My experience with GrandCentral (2, Funny)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167171)

because I didn't hand out the number to anyone, I would freak out when once in a blue moon someone would call that number by accident and both my phones would ring at once. I don't know if this stuff has been addressed since google took over

Yes, Google has addressed this. They now send someone to your house to inject you with valium just before the phone rings, so you don't freak out.

telnic's .tel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27166953)

Isn't this idea already implemented by telnic with their dotTel?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.tel

Video? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27166977)

What about video? We've been told we'd have video phones for as long as we've been promised flying cars. Seriously, how hard would it be to integrate video into this phone system?

OK, sure there are hardware and protocol requirements. But nearly any current "chat" service offers video. Even if you didn't want to do this directly from you computer, Google could sell or license phones that connect directly to your wireless router that have a small screen and camera. They could even sell a device that connects to your TV. Of course, for now, it would require both sides to have Google's phone service, but there's no reason this couldn't be an open protocol that would allow video calls from say, Vonage and Google customers.

Looks like they are thinking big, but they could think bigger!

Re:Video? (4, Insightful)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167341)

Who wants video phones? There are really only two times that I use (or want to use) video calling:

1. Very occasionally, for remote meetings with colleagues that I know well and like, mainly because it is amusing and allows us to connect after not working side-by-side for a long time.

2. When dealing with tiny kids at a long distance.

Other than that, it's awful. I hate it for ordinary business calls because I can't read email, munch on raisins, pick my nose, stare out the window, or whatever else I'd normally do. And I've never felt like I want to see my friends when calling them.

Assuming I'm not too terribly odd in this regard, the market for video is probably limited.

Integration with the G1? (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167087)

My question would be how well it will integrate with the andriod phones and specifically the G1. Can I have/build/get an app that will see it's from GrandCentral and prompt me on screen with the appropriate choices rather than a voice menu?

Also, can my phone use it's settings for things like "route straight to voicemail" to handle the incoming calls for me?

For how long? (1)

jregel (39009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167133)

Ah, another Google service that might one day disappear because Google don't think it's valuable enough.

See Google Browser Sync and Google Notebook for other examples.

Re:For how long? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167289)

Ah, another Google service that might one day disappear because Google don't think it's valuable enough.

That's true of every service, from every company, whether its in Beta or not. The only "guarantee" you have is with a contract, and only for the life of the contract, and even then its just them weighing the cost of buying off your contract or suffering an action for breach if you refuse to be bought off against the cost of maintaining the service that is not valuable to them.

Re:For how long? (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167697)

That's true of every service, from every company, whether its in Beta or not.

True of every SERVICE. Untrue of every PRODUCT. If I could buy or download a copy and host it on my server, then it goes away when I'm done with it, not when someone else is.

Perfect for freelancers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27167219)

I'm a freelancers. I've been using Grandcentral for years, and these new features are going to make it the perfect fit for any freelancer and entrepreneur.

I have a separate phone number for business calls that rings whichever phones I want, when I want. I can transfer calls around between the phones, do conference calls, and screen them. I can have a separate voicemail message for my business callers than I do my personal callers. Now I'll be able to get transcripts of my voicemail, and do other useful things.

Slap this number on your business cards, and it's an instant, easy system to handle business calls.

Free Phone (So Far) (2, Interesting)

ian13550 (697991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167389)

I setup my GC account a year or more ago. It's pretty slick for the most part. I have GC forward my incoming calls to my free Gizmo (http://gizmo5.com/pc/) SIP soft phone or SIP desk phone depending on whether I'm on the road or at my home office. For my friends I also have it ring my cellphone/homephone.

I was also able to have GC import my Outlook address book (before they removed the feature) so all my contacts are already loaded.

The nice part is that ALL calls are in-bound to me (so far) so I essentially pay nothing (if sent to a phone other than my cellphone). If I need to make a call I can make it through my GC Address Book. There are even some free apps floating around that let you quickly dial your contacts or a phone number without having to log into the GC website.

I'm happy that Google is *finally* doing something with the technology. I'm willing to give Google Voice a shot once my account gets the upgrade.

I have an account... (1)

I.M.O.G. (811163) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167391)

And I find it really useful. I commonly have about 15 voicemails on average, and its really useful to see them all visually, what numbers they came in on, and skip thru the playback of the messages themselves.

The other feature that I like is that the caller has to state their name when they call. Grandcentral calls me, tells me the name the person stated, then I have these options:

1 Pick up the call
2 Send to voicemail
3 Send to voicemail and listen to the message as the caller leaves it

This call screening is really useful when I'm busy and need to prioritize my time.

Why sacrifice your privacy? (2, Insightful)

fluffernutter (1411889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167535)

This seems like a really great service. But remember that Google is public about the fact that they crawl through your data so that they can profit from it. Email is bad enough, but why anyone would send their whole life streaming through Google is beyond me. It continues to surprise me how comfortable and trusting people are getting with the cloud.

Ignorance is bliss.. Sorry to wreck it for you.

Is Google Voice for me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27167553)

I want to be excited for this, but I'm not sure if it's for me. I'd consider myself a big techie, and I get excited when new things come out on the web, but with Google Voice, I'm having a hard time.

I have a cell phone. My wife has a cell phone. I don't have a home phone. I have a work phone, but noone calls it but internal people. Most of my friends and family are on the same cell service as me, so when they call my cell it doesn't cost them or me. I text with my wife and a few friends, but nothing serious.

Is this for me? Should I be more excited for it? How can I use this to better my phone experience?

Yes I use it and it is great (4, Interesting)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167579)

I have a home land line, a work land line (mandatory), a work cell, and a home cell. My wife has a cell and my daughter has a cell.

I can, depending on the caller ID (and I'm talking about reliable ones from people I know -- like my boss) have GC ring all of my phones, just my phones, just me work phones, just my home phones, my daughter's phone, or just about any combination I want.

Or no phone at all.

I suggest it for anyone who deals with clients and wants their number to remain the same after they leave a job. Get a GC number and put it on your business cards. Link up your cell and your desk phone. Leave the job, keep the cards, your clients may not even know the difference.

It has always been a good service.

I had this idea in 2001, still useless... (1)

rtilghman (736281) | more than 5 years ago | (#27167825)

To simplify, number portability makes this concept completely moot, and proprietary packages/offerings is a "bullet to the brain."

Phone numbers aren't like email systems... users don't set-up lots of aliases, or have fractured paths that need to be reconciled (at least not most users). At the same time, the move to mobile and the ability to take your number with you means that everyone is already converging around a single number scheme.

Basically we're all going to end up with a single phone that is also our computer, and that phone is going to have a single number/identity the same way we do today. Unless you're thinking of annihilating traditional numeric telephone addressing (and I don't think you can, simply from a worldwide pattern perspective) there is zero traction here.

In fact, the market is moving away from you, particularly with the current trend of "packaging" data and getting on a single network... in other words, aggregation is something accomplished on a vendor basis.

It's one of those ideas that sounds cool but actually turns out to be less needed than you would think.

rt

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