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Google Voice: what all the talk's about

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Can you hear call, text, reach-me-anywhere now?

Google this morning announced an overhaul for GrandCentral, the "one number to rule them all" telephone service it acquired in 2007.

Now called Google Voice, the service forwards calls to multiple phones, screens calls, transcribes voicemails, manages and routes text messages, offers free US and cheap international calls, and offers customizable call handling, greetings, and availability options.

The old-fashioned three-tone "this nunber has been disconnected" message is even at your fingertips for those really annoying callers.

And, since it's from Google, the whole thing's free.

The service is limited to Grand Central users for now (a group grandfathered in from when Google paid $50 million for the service two years ago) but will be made public in the coming weeks.

Here's a look at what's being said about the new Google Voice offerings:

Voicemail transcription

"This is huge. It means that you can search, sort, save, forward, copy and paste voice mail messages.... Companies like PhoneTag, Callwave and Spinvox already transcribe voice mail, complete with punctuation. They’re great, but they cost money. Google Voice is free." [David Pogue for the New York Times]

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