UPDATED 17:43 EDT / MARCH 11 2009

Breaking News: Google to Release GrandCentral Out of Beta as Google Voice – Hello Google Voice

Here is the official Google blog post announcing Google Voice

grandcentral_logoI am hearing from a source that Google will soon be announcing availability of Google GrandCentral, web based voice services that will change the game on Unified Communications.

Our Angle: This is Voice 2.0 or voice capabilities integrated into the web experience verses the other way around where the voice guys are trying to bring the web experience to the phone. VoIP calling has been around, but what I like about GrandCentral is the robust feature set.

They have everything here to support the user behavior of Web 2.0 or better yet – the Unified Communication dream. Leveraging voice across the web is what the users are looking for and of course in any environment. This makes voice fit the web services business model as well as the user model of “time and device” shifting.

Mark uses the service, and will rave about it at the drop of a hat, so I can’t wait to get an account.

Some details we are hearing:

– Voicemail Transcriptions – great for an on the go user

– National Free Calling But Not Free International – yawn; needs to be free International

– Text Messaging Capability – must have feature

– Customization to Address Book  – really powerful for mobile users who rely on the address book; similar to how outlook handles rules but for voice

– Conference Calling Up to 6 People – Good for small and medium sized businesses.

– Sharing Messages with Friends – send voicemails around to friends.

Here a video from the Google Office Blog post on the topic

Update: The New York Times and Techcrunch are now running the story.  Details are flowing in.  Below are the screenshots from the TC story.

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