In 2007 Google bought a company called GrandCentral, then appeared to ignore its new toy.
GrandCentral allowed consumers to sign up for a new, free phone number. Users could then choose to have the number ring to their cell phone, work number, or home phone, or all of them simultaneously. Users could easily record calls, and listen to their voice mail on the GrandCentral Web site.
Google put no marketing muscle behind GrandCentral and in fact closed down the service to new users. Turns out, though, that Google was quietly remaking GrandCentral into Google Voice, which should be available to the public in a matter of weeks.
Google Voice includes some important new features: It automatically transcribes voice mail messages into text; delivers SMS messages into a users’ inboxes; and allows people to make cheap international calls.
Guest: Dwight Silverman