Google preparing to steer more telephone traffic

Mar 12, 2009
Google logo A

(AP) -- Internet search leader Google Inc. is preparing to steer more telephone traffic through an online command center that it acquired nearly two years ago.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is heralding the expansion on Thursday by GrandCentral Communications as . bought GrandCentral in July 2007 for an undisclosed amount.

As part of the transition to the new identity, Google is upgrading the service for GrandCentral's current users to include automated transcriptions of voicemails and discounts on international calls.

For now, Google Voice only will be available to the people who already have been relying on GrandCentral to manage on their office, home and mobile phone lines. Google says several hundred thousand people have GrandCentral accounts.

The free service has been closed to new users while Google retooled the technology to handle a wider audience. Within the next few weeks, Google Voice will begin welcoming people who had signed up to be on the service's waiting list, said Vincent Paquet, a GrandCentral co-founder who is now running the service for Mountain View-based Google.

Here's how it works: Google Voice assigns a unique phone number to each user. Calls to the Google Voice number can then be directed to any other phone line. The service also provides a hub for all messages. The online command center also enables a user to customize greetings for friends and family or ward off unwelcome callers.

"Google is all about helping you manage your information and one of the big holes right now is in the management of voice communications," Paquet said.

This isn't Google's first attempt to become a bigger player in the . The company has also built a for mobile devices, called Android, that's designed to ensure that people on the go can easily access Google's services when they are away from home or the office.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Is it too late to protect privacy? Pessimism reigns over big data and the law

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google Tests Directory Assistance for Phones

Apr 08, 2007

Computer Web search leader Google stepped up an experiment to use speech recognition on telephones so consumers can ask for local information, in a challenge to directory assistance providers.

Google Maps combines with Google Local

Oct 07, 2005

Google Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., says it has combined its Google Maps service with Google Local, moving both out of beta, or testing, status.

Recommended for you

A Closer Look: Your (online) life after death

21 hours ago

Sure, you have a lot to do today—laundry, bills, dinner—but it's never too early to start planning for your digital afterlife, the fate of your numerous online accounts once you shed this mortal coil.

Web filter lifts block on gay sites

21 hours ago

A popular online safe-search filter is ending its practice of blocking links to mainstream gay and lesbian advocacy groups for users hoping to avoid obscene sites.

Protecting infrastructure with smarter CPS

Sep 16, 2014

Security of IT networks is continually being improved to protect against malicious hackers. Yet when IT networks interface with infrastructures such as water and electric systems to provide monitoring and control capabilities, ...

Apple helps iTunes users delete free U2 album

Sep 15, 2014

Apple on Monday began helping people boot U2 off their iTunes accounts after a cacophony of complaints about not wanting the automatically downloaded free album by the Irish rock band.

User comments : 0