Some of you may know I'm a big fan of the GrandCentral service, and have been using it for some time. Because there hadn't been any word from google about it in a long time, rumors were going around that it might be on the 'chopping block' to get shut down along with some other google services recently. Fortunately, that's not the case.
The long delay was in fact due to Google totally rebuilding the service, rather than just changing it piece by piece to a google product. Starting today, users of GrandCentral will begin seeing their accounts converted to Google Voice accounts. Google voice will have all the great features of GrandCentral, plus a lot of new or improved features.
I've written about GrandCentral before, so I'll just touch on the basics here. Essentially, it's a service that gives you a new phone number. That phone number is the only one you need from that point forward. Anytime someone calls that number, it will ring through to your home, cell phone, work phone, or any other numbers you like, all at the same time. If you don't answer, the calls go to one central voice mail box. New with the Google voice upgrade, all voicemails will be transcribed as well. Don't want to call in and listen to a message? Just read the transcribed version emailed to you from Google Voice.
The service does a LOT more, including filtering based on address book information and groups, click to call, and SMS (text messaging). If you use more than one phone number, you should really check it out. Of course, right now they are only converting grandcentral users to the new google voice. They should begin taking new signups in a few weeks though. Check back here and I'll post when you can sign up!