Google has upgraded its GrandCentral service to a new offering called Google Voice, in a direct attack against internet and traditional telephony services.
Google Voice takes the existing GrandCentral service, which consolidates landlines and mobile numbers into a single phone number with voicemail, and adds the ability to make free domestic calls, transcribe voice mails and allow conference calls for up to six participants.
"The new application improves the way you use your phone," said the company in a blog posting. "You can get transcripts of your voicemail and archive and search all the text messages you send and receive. You can also use the service to make low-priced international calls and easily access Goog-411 directory assistance. "
The move is bound to worry internet telephony providers such as Skype, but will also affect traditional providers by offering services for free that constitute a major part of their revenue streams.
Google acquired GrandCentral in July 2007, but has done little to develop the service until now. Existing GrandCentral users can use Google Voice immediately, and the application will be opened up to new users in the next few weeks.
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