Google is launching Google Voice, a service that helps users manage their voice communications more efficiently. The service converts voice mail into text messages or e-mails so they can be also read.


At the moment, Google is only offering transcriptions to existing customers of GrandCentral Communications, a telecommunications service provider that it bought in July 2007. The company offers customers a single number through which they can forward calls to their work, home or mobile phone, filter calls before answering them, record conversations and access an archive of recordings and voice mail via the web. User will never need to delete another message as GrandCentral promises to archive voicemail “for life.”

Compared to other automated transcription service already in the market, Google claimed the service is the only fully automated voice-mail transcription service on the market. The transcriptions may include mistakes, but Google is making improvement on the accuracy improvements over time.

Nevertheless, Skype has recently introduced a service that transcribes voice mail messages into SMS text messages via Spinox technology, also used by U.S. carriers such as Alltel, Cincinnati Bell and Rogers.

Google will make it easier for people to manage their voicemail, by simply archiving these messages, and making them available in the central voicemail inbox. This inbox can be accessed from the Web, and will make message search faster and easier.

The service will become available to GrandCentral users over the next couple of days, when they should receive instructions in their inbox about how to start using the new Google Voice. The service is free of charge, and offers everything from one number for all the user’s phones, to easily manageable voicemail, enhanced calling features such as call blocking and screening, voicemail transcripts, call conferencing, international calls and more.