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Summary:

We’ve been worried about GrandCentral for a while now. The free service that promised “one number for life” started with such promise. And then Google bought the company and the technology way back in July 2007…and they left it to rot. No new invites. Existing users […]

We’ve been worried about GrandCentral for a while now. The free service that promised “one number for life” started with such promise. And then Google bought the company and the technology way back in July 2007…and they left it to rot. No new invites. Existing users have seen the service languish in maintenance mode since the acquisition. No updates. No new features or improvements. No word from the developers. Shame.

This morning, those of us still using a GrandCentral number are logging in to our accounts to see this:

grandcentral-cert

An expired SSL certificate is not a big deal. Just accept the expired certificate because you trust the site and move on. But that’s not the point. It’s yet more evidence that if the GrandCentral folks are still at Google, they’re working on something else. The GrandCentral support forum is filled with questions and problems, and there has been no official answer to anything.

The challenge for those of us left behind is number portability, or lack thereof. I like my GrandCentral number. It’s easy to remember. It’s in the area code I want it to be. I would gladly use another reasonably-priced service if I could take the number with me (I do use PhoneFusion for my local contacts). Yes, GrandCentral has always been “beta” and was never meant to be used for mission-critical contacts. But it’s a little difficult to “test” a service like GrandCentral without giving the number out to contacts, isn’t it?

It’s about time for Google to do the right thing. Shut GrandCentral down once and for all, and give us a way to port our numbers elsewhere.

  1. I use GrandCentral as my primary phone number have for the last 18 months or so.

    I love the service and have come to depend on it for my daily voice communications.

    Yes, I realized I was assuming some risk with its “beta” tag, but I’d hoped that the Google acquisition would have minimized this risk.

    Apparently, this isn’t the case.

    I’m amazed at Google’s and GC’s lack of communication about *anything* going on with the service.

    I did see this recently (http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2009/01/grandcentral-in-spain.html) but the lack of communication has me worries about long-term use of GrandCentral.

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  2. I have been an ardent user of GrandCentral for the plus for a long time now, and I have been giving the number out to everyone. Uh oh.

    This is the second time in two weeks that Google may rain on my parade, and I think I finally may be learning my lesson.

    After Google stopped support on Notebook last week – a service that I really liked – it maid me realize that thinking that a Google division could go on forever. Not so obviously.

    I work with a lot of services with most of my information online – I thought that was the way of the future. If one of those companies shutters their doors, then what?

    I would gladly pay for a service like Google Notebook (I do now for Evernote) and GrandCentral.

    Tom N

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  3. I am with PhoneFusion. We are able to port your GrandCentral number to PhoneFusion. Just email us to support at phonefusion.com and we will be happy to assist you with this.

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  4. I wouldn’t take an expired certificate as some sort of larger message–they do happen from time to time (e.g. I think this happened to AdWords at one point). It looks like someone has already reported this to the right group at Google to renew the certificate.

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  5. I do remember this link http://www.myintellectualpropertyrights.com/blog/20081106134/verizon-settles-patent-infringement-lawsuit-with-klausner-technologies.php talking about how Grand Central was being sued.

    Not to sure if this is why Google put GC on the Back Burner but it was a clue to me sometime ago.

    I too use GS as my business number and it’s wonderful I hope they start to see the light.

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  6. I am a bit concerned, having been on GC for over a year. The service still works (thankfully), but I would be disappointed to lose my number and have to pay for the exact same service via another provider.

    I am optimistic though when it comes to Google though, hopefully they can just roll GC into Gmail and their video conferencing software and get on with whatever transition they are planning.

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  7. Google is becoming like Microsoft in many ways, not the least of which is its increasingly short attention span and lack of focus. I’m worried.

    Methinks it best not to become dependent on any single non-search-related Google service (Notebook, GrandCentral, Lively, etc.). Or to even start using them at all.

    Pick a solid alternative (like Evernote) and pray Google doesn’t buy them and let them shrivel and die on the vine.

    I hope there’s a brash challenger in the wings ready to take on the Googles and Microsofts of the world. Google used to be that brash challenger, but now that they’re sitting on top of the heap, they’re becoming fat and soft and arrogant and complacent. Just like Microsoft.

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  8. You’ve got it wrong. Everyone from GrandCentral still works on GrandCentral, and the 2.0 version is imminent.

    A PR guy explained to me that it’s taken a year to merge the GrandCentral servers with Google’s, but they’re nearly done.

    –Pogue

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  9. That’s right, everybody, nothing to see here, the PR people are telling us there’s nothing to be concerned about.

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  10. @Matt, I know an expired certificate is no big deal. But when you combine it with the lack of updates and lack of communication, it looks bigger than it is.

    @David, nice to see you commenting here! You have way more information here than I do, so I’m relieved to hear that it’s not dead. Can’t wait to see what version 2.0 is all about. But I don’t think we should be hearing this from an in-the-know journalist in a comment on WebWorkerDaily. Why isn’t anyone from Google taking the time to reassure all those customers in their support forum who are wondering what’s going on? Don’t they deserve that?

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