In a nutshell, here's the scoop ?
Google Voice + Cell Phone = ?Holy smokes?-kind of awesomeness.
Here's the longer version ?
Google just announced today the upcoming debut of Google Voice, an expanded version of GrandCentral, which the company acquired 20 months ago.
My jaw dropped when I saw the list of goodies that awaits users:
Some of these features may be available on services like Spinvox, but you have to pay for them there. Google Voice is totally free, except for international calling, which is cheap. Interestingly enough, that's actually what rankled the telecommunications industry ? the free domestic and cheapo international calls. (Have you ever dialed Europe on your cell? Yowza. Not cheap, and not a whole lot better on certain landline packages.)
Skype is great for some of this, and when I?m at my computer, it will probably still get a lot of play. But at first blush, it can't compare to all these bells and whistles.
Personally, I can't wait to have customized outgoing messages, transcribed voice mails or real-time call screening. And the ability to save texts is just awesome. (Too bad I didn't have this before. I was forced to delete the texts my husband sent me when we were dating. Huge bummer. They were like the modern equivalent of love letters, and now they?re gone.)
For now, only current GrandCentral users ? who errantly thought Google had forgotten about them ? are able to sign up for Google Voice. The rest of us will have to wait until they open up registration in a few weeks.
Sign up here and the company will let you know when you can register. (Line forms behind me.)
EDITED TO ADD: There's a curious little link in Google Voice Help about ?Record Calls,? but it's not an active page. No idea what's up with that, but I?ll let you know if it pans out as anything good.