In addition to opening the service up to new users, Om reports that Google Voice will host a suite of new VoIP features:
- You can use your GrandCentral number to send and receive SMS messages, and have them forwarded to your current wireless phone. You can send messages from the mobile or from the landline phone.
- Make phone calls using the web or your mobile/landline phone.
- You can get transcripts for voicemails left on Google Voice. These transcripts, based on internal Google technology currently being used by GOOG-411 service, can be sent to you via SMS.
- Create conference calls by dragging phone numbers onto existing calls. This will be useful for small businesses and web workers.
- Free calls to all U.S. numbers. You can make international calls but that will cost you, depending on the country you are dialing.
Google Voice will also integrate with Google contacts, which will be a very welcome change.
None of these new features are groundbreaking. There are a number of startups that can do what Google Voice does and more. But with Google Voice we can likely expect a simple, straightforward interface and low barrier to entry, with only a Google Account required to sign up.
We’ll have a more in-depth look at Google Voice once it’s widely available.