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Sunday, January 13, 2008

GrandCentral - A Google Company You Didn't Know About

Back in July Google quietly purchased GrandCentral Communications. It is a pretty interesting play in the space and again shows Google's interest with telephony.

Basically it is a service that allows you to subscribe to a phone number and have the system manage all of your inbound calls and voice mail services. For example when someone calls your assigned number it can be routed to any of your phones - home, cell, business etc (one to many at once) or directly to a voice mail system. The power is that you can control all of this depending on who is calling and when the call comes it. This is pretty convenient in the long term as well as this can be the number that follows you regardless of where you end up. It also has a bunch of cool options that you can play with to personalize the service. The concept behind GrandCentral is not exactly new as variations of it have existed for some time but, this is the first time I have seen it for free and as easy to sign-up and use as it is on their site.

The numbers available are not currently Canadian area codes but all of the wireless carriers are options. So sign up and if we can get enough people I am sure they will open up Canadian numbers. Try it out, worse case it gives you a US calling point for when you travel to avoid long distance charges back home and to the office.

1 comment:

Joel said...

I'm interested to see what Google's end motive is for this aqisition. On the GrandCentral site in the FAQs, it staes " Q: Why did Google acquire GrandCentral?
A: Google acquired GrandCentral because its communications services fit into Google's mission to organize the world's information and to provide services and features that enhance the collaborative exchange of information between our users."

What information is Google organizing in this case? Most (if not all) info they wold be gathering would be private or location based information.
I guess you could consider a phone calls an "exchange of information between users" but again, it borders, if not crosses, a privacy concern.

I'm not one to think that Google is out to be big brother, but I also know they aren't buying up companies that don't somehow fit into what they are trying to do.