I opened up my GMAIL this morning and saw the following:
Hello GrandCentral User,
We are happy to announce that GrandCentral has been upgraded and is relaunching as Google Voice. While not yet open to the public, we wanted to give you, our GrandCentral users, the first opportunity to start using Google Voice.
In addition to the GrandCentral features you already know, we’ve added voicemail transcription, SMS support, conference calling, Goog411, enhanced spam protection and low-priced international calling. We have also integrated GrandCentral with your Google Account and your Google Contacts list.
To upgrade your account to Google Voice, just log in to your GrandCentral account and follow the directions at the top of your inbox. Upon upgrading, your GrandCentral number, PIN, and forwarding phones will be moved to Google Voice.
Note that since Google Voice uses the Google address book, your GrandCentral contacts will not be imported automatically. You can import your GrandCentral address book with these instructions. You will also need to recreate any individual/group settings and greetings.
After you upgrade, all your new voicemails will be accessible at Google Voice, while all prior messages will remain available at GrandCentral.
Thanks for being a great GrandCentral user and we hope you enjoy Google Voice!
Craig, Vincent, and the Google Voice team
Converting my account from GrandCentral to Google Voice was really easy, just follow the directions as indicated above. Here is a screenshot of the new layout:
If you do not currently have a GrandCentral number, you can request an invitation to Google Voice here.
Here is a great overview of Google Voice Features:
Google number – One number for all your calls and SMS
Call screening – Announce and screen callers
Listen in – Listen before taking a call
Block calls – Keep unwanted callers at bay
SMS – Send, receive, and store SMS
Place calls – Call US numbers for free
Taking calls – Answer on any of your phones
Phone routing – Phones ring based on who calls
Forwarding phones – Add phones and decide which ring
Google voicemail – Voicemail as easy as email, with transcripts
Voicemail transcripts – Read what your voicemail says
Listen to voicemail – Check online or from your phone
Notifications – Receive voicemails via email or SMS
Personalize greeting – Vary greetings by caller
Share voicemail – Forward or download voicemails
Voice features – More cool things you can do with Google Voice
Conference calling – Join people into a single call
Call record – Record calls and store them online
Call switch – Switch phones during a call
Mobile site – View your inbox from your mobile
GOOG-411 – Check directory assistance
Manage groups – Set preferences by group
If I really get around to using my Google Voice account, I will post a future update as to how I use it.