Google has added a new service as it continues its shopping spree, snapping up GrandCentral Communications, a start up that is focused on Internet phone calls. The new service allows users to have a single phone number that reaches cell, office, and/or home phones and allows users to manage all of their voice mail through one interface. This will also allow users to have a phone number that is not dependant on cell carriers, employers, or the location of a residence, as the user can configure the service to ring any or all of these numbers as it attempts to complete the call.

Google Buys Web-Calling Service GrandCentral (PC World | Reuters)

This news comes nearly a year after Microsoft inked a deal with Verizon that allows MS Live Messenger users to place phone calls using their IM client. Years after the Web-calling market leader Skype introduced its service, there are dozens of alternative services and products, some of which are very compelling. There are also new handsets that look and act like cell phones but use a Wi-Fi hotspot and the Skype service to make phone calls.

Verizon Business powers one-click Web calling for Windows Live Messenger (Verizon press release)

Review: 6 Skype Alternatives Offer New Services (Information Week)

Web Calling Cuts the Cord (Popular Science)

I like the idea of having one phone number that can reach me anywhere I happen to be, and I love the idea of having a number that can tie into any of my other numbers even if I move, change jobs, or decide I hate my cell provider. It would also be nice to be able to manage all of my voice mail from one place, rather than having to check home, work, and cell phone mail. 

Have you gone away from traditional voice calling at your home or business? What service do you use, and what has your experience been? Do you suggest traditional phones, or are the lower cost alternatives acceptable? Join the discussion.


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