Google relaunched its VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service GrandCentral as Google Voice.
Purchased by Google in July 2007, GrandCentral clients have been able to use the VoIP solution despite Google not doing much with it during the past two years. But it looks like they had a plan all along. It's more apparent than ever that Google's goal is to meet the needs of small business owners with e-mail, document management and now VoIP. Over the years, Google has been building a platform that is very business-centric and perhaps now even more appealing.
Google Voice offers all the same capabilities that were available under the original GrandCentral name: call forwarding, conferencing and recording. However, Google has made some noticeable improvements. New features include: voicemail transcription into SMS (text) or e-mails that can be viewed on a PC or mobile phone; search and archive of all SMS that were sent or received; directory assistance with GOOG-411; and the ability to screen voicemails by listening live as the person leaves the message.
Should you sign up? If you're not currently a GrandCentral customer you may have to wait. Google will be offering the VoIP service to current GrandCentral users first, and to other customers in the near future.