Google launched Google Voice (GV) earlier this year, which was a reincarnated voice app developed by Grand Central. GV is basically a unified communications application for consumers (more likely prosumers). You can create all kinds of rules around your Google Voice telephone number including simultaneous ring, hunt groups, and unified messaging. Google adds unique twists to the product, including voicemail transcripts and in-call transfers.
One down side (depending on your perspective) to the product was it required a new Google issued number. But according to Tech Crunch, that may be changing soon. Google Voice is apparently on the verge of launching number portability, which may make the service more appealing to a wider audience (although, not everyone is impressed). Google is also apparently working on an app that will allow outbound calls from various devices to register as the main GV number for caller ID purposes, regardless of where the call originates from.
It’s too early to draw firm conclusions about GV. But if Google continues to innovate the service and builds up a decent enough user base, GV could potentially become a significant disrupting force to telcos around the world. It’s definitely worth watching.