I had just about given up on Grand Central, and so had many other people. It is a cool idea and I really like it, but it seemed Google had no intention of actually doing anything with it. Well after 21 months, Google is re-launching it as Google Voice.
For those of us lucky enough to get in on the original beta, we should be able to convert over to the new service in the next few days. There are lots of new features, but the top two that impressed me are 1. Text messages to your Google Voice number to be forwarded to your mobile and elsewhere for you to respond. This is the tech gateway used in Google chat. 2. Voice mail transcription. Voice mails are transcribed and forwarded to you. The system is organized like Gmail and also lets you add notes and tags.
It should be pretty cool. I can't wait to try it out. I hope they fixed the one thing that was broken for me... the fact that you always had to press a number on the keypad to accept and incoming call - even from someone on your friend list. This had two major problems: 1. If you are on a bluetooth headset and your phone is in your pocket, you have to scramble to get your phone out to accept the call. 2. If you forward your calls to a soft-phone like Fring, you can't accept the call at all. This is because many soft-phones only give you a numeric keypad when dialing out, not when accepting an incoming call.