“If Google search revolutionized the Web,” said David Pogue in The New York Times, you can bet that Google Voice, unveiled Thursday, “will revolutionize telephones.” Google Voice builds on a start-up it bought, GrandCentral, which let users manage all calls to their various land lines and cell phones, through one phone number. Google Voice does that, plus adds some “game-changing” features—free, searchable voice-mail transcriptions, anyone?
As if telecoms didn’t have enough troubles, said Chris Keall in New Zealand’s National Business Review. Google hasn’t said yet how it plans to monetize the service, but the menu of free phone services, and cheap international calls, can’t be good news for phone companies already grappling “with their transition to the digital age.”
Google says it can keep the service free by taking a cut of the $1 trillion-a-year market for international calls, said Matt Marshall in Venture Beat. But the voice-mail transcriptions are the “I must have it!” feature. “My favorite” bit: You can “forward unwanted stalkers” to a realistic-sounding “this number has been disconnected” message.