Resulting from Google's purchase of Grand Central in 2007, Google today launched Google Voice, a service that recognizes the words in a voicemail message left for you, and can then email the transcript to your inbox or deliver it to your phone via SMS. The service is currently limited to Grand Central customers, but is promised for all "soon".
Grand Central in 2007 gave users a single contact phone number that could automatically route calls through to a cellphone, office or home phone. Google seems to have taken that idea and added its own web-based spin, and mixing the speech-recognition technology developed under the Goog-411 directory service.
You can also have Grand Central SMS texts received or sent by your phone, and you can make calls to numbers in the U.S. or overseas from your cellphone, home phone or PC using the service.
The only charge, it seems, is for international numbers, which requires you to pay using Google Checkout.