It has taken what seemed like an eternity for those who weren’t quick enough to snag an account while the service was open, but Google has finally shown the world what it plans to do with GrandCentral — and it’s looking pretty awesome. GrandCentral users have been sitting in limbo for almost two years now, waiting for Google to either announce its plans for the service it acquired in July 2007 or shut it down as has been the case with several other acquisitions. Thankfully, the former is the case. Google let the cat out of the bag last night and announced Google Voice, which is currently a closed service being rolled out to GrandCentral users.
In a nutshell, Google Voice is Gmail for your voice communications. As with GrandCentral, you get one number that you can set up to forward to any and all of your existing numbers — mobile, home phone, office phone, etc. Incoming calls ring to all attached lines and if you don’t answer, any voicemail left will be stored in a visual queue and can be accessed from any computer or mobile phone. Google Voice picks up where GrandCentral left off and adds some big functionality such as voicemail transcription, SMS, free conference calling and plenty more. We’ll be watching this one closely as it’s a huge and necessary step as Google moves further and further toward world domination. Can you say, Android integration? Current GrandCentral users will be rolled over into Google Voice over the next couple of days but unfortunately there is no word on exactly when the service might open up to new users.