Google is getting into voice, not only with its highly anticipated relaunch of GrandCentral, but all over the world. Google Labs in India, for instance, just released Google Noticeboard in beta. This is a service geared at developing nations where not everyone has a computer. You can think of it as village voicemail on shared computers.
An administrator sets up a noticeboard on a shared computer in a village or Internet cafe. Then the applications acts as public noticeboard, where anyone can record a voice message. Text can also be added, but it is designed to work in places where literacy rates are low. People from the village can check for new group messages on any shared village computer with the software installed. It works as a Firefox add-on for Windows only. Google India describes the purpose of the service:
Communities with access to shared computers can use the Noticeboard for exchanging messages related to community announcements, social interactions, local buying and selling, and information that is of wider interest to the community. The Noticeboard may also be used for the community to engage in a dialog with benefactors, public servants, and other service providers who are geographically distant.
Adding communication services such as Noticeboard to shared computers is a step towards bridging the digital divide. The one issue I see is that Noticeboard requires that messages be recorded via a computer microphone. It would be better if villagers could phone in messages as well.
(Hat tip to reader Nimish Adani from Workosaur).