Google voice: Like Gmail for your phone
For now, it will be available only to users of GrandCentral, which Google acquired all the way back in 2007.
GrandCentral basically consolidates all your phones, giving you a single number to ring on your home, work and mobile phones and a voicemail box you can access from anywhere, including the web.
And for all those folks and who miss being able to screen phone calls by listening as callers leave their message on an answering machine, Grnad Central gives you the ability to listen in as callers leave a voicemail.
Google Voice builds on this - you can get transcripts of your voicemail messages, receive the voicemails by e-mail or SMS, set up personalized greetings that depend on the caller and forward or download voicemails. You'll also be able to set up conference calls via Google Voice, even if your regular phone service isn't set up to handle it, record calls and store them online, switch the phone you're using during a call and have access to Goog-411, Google's new directory assistance. Like many mobile 411 services, you can then directly call the number you're trying to reach through the service.
Here's a video on how Google Voice will work, and this page of features includes videos on each of them, for anyone who wants to see them in action.
In the next few weeks, Google Voice may be expanded to people who aren't already using GrandCentral. Anyone who wants to be notified when the service opens up can send an e-mail to Google now.