There is a lot of buzz about the latest Google offering, Google Voice. I was pretty excited when I heard that it was going to offer free transcription of voicemail into text. How many times are you in a situation where you can't take a call or listen to a voice mail, but you could surreptitiously look at a text message or e-mail on the phone? Maybe you could even text instructions to your staff like "Call Mr. Smith. Calm him down. Tell him I am in depo and get # where he will be at 6 pm for me to call."
But then I read David Pogue's New York Times column, One Number to Ring Them All. I hadn't subscribed to GrandCentral before Google bought it and closed it off for new sign-ups. Pogue gives us the history of GrandCentral and weaves it together with the features of the new GoogleVoice to make the case that this could be the new phone service "killer app." Not only is there voicemail to text, but it includes free conference calls, cheap international calls and organization and retention of text messages. (More places for lawyers to look for Electronically Stored Information [ESI].) I know there are some tense and serious meetings this week at other companies that are offering service in this space. I also know some privacy advocates won't be happy with this development. But, for me, I'm just waiting for the folks at Google to do final beta tweaking with the Grand Central users and open Google Voice up to the rest of us.