Blog Post

GooCentral… Really?

Big rumor of the day: Google is buying GrandCentral. We checked with GrandCentral and they declined to comment. If it indeed does happen, it would be delicious irony: Craig Walker and Vincent Paquet were with DialPad, which got sold to Yahoo. So this would even the score. GrandCentral has raised about $4 million from Minor Ventures and has been looking to raise more cash. Google dollars might be an easier option.

Many have been wondering why the search giant is buying this start-up? [digg=]
“GrandCentral’s message of One Phone Number, for life also fits nicely with Google’s aspirations to be your one mailbox, and online identity resource,” writes Alec Saunders. Though, I think, this would be Google’s attempt to add more oomph to the Google Apps, integrate GrandCentral and make them more useful for small and medium sized businesses, without disrupting their existing voice infrastructure.

You can read why it would make sense by visiting this hand-on review over on Web Worker Daily. Also, from the archives: Our previous GrandCentral coverage.

(Disclosure: GrandCentral was one of the sponsors of an ETel/GigaOM LaunchPad after party.)

17 Responses to “GooCentral… Really?”

  1. The concept of Grandcentral initially drew me in, but i realized that it really is more of a business thing than a personal one. I simply wanted to be able to forward voicemails. I found Youmail through a tech forum, so far it has been quite a bit more simple and user friendly. Personalized voice greetings for each individual caller and an online message log that allows you to undelete previously deleted voicemails. I realize now that I really don’t need/want 1 number, I get along just fine with a cell and two land lines.

  2. I believe this will make an epoch in the combination of the virtual (internet) and the real (telephone) world.

    Currently, you can only make phone calls from virtual world to the real world, say using your Skype phone to call your friend’s cellphone. But with the infrastructure of GrandCentral and the power of Google, you will be able to make a call from the real world to the virtual world as the extended call forwarding will be able to route the call to your Google Talk or Skype terminal on your laptop.

    And this is just the beginning. With a universal number in both the real world and the virtual world, SIP realization is just a piece of cake. You can set your connection preference on your web portal, say all business related calls will be route to my voice mail after 6:00PM with exception of a call from your boss.

  3. jack lemond

    i don’t get it. with GC they make it very complicated.
    Their whole”one number for life” is misleading…they first have to give you a whole new number…duh..who wants that??? I tried it out and it confused everyone.
    I ended up going with YouMail.I got going in 2 seconds AND i got to keep my number. I love it! Simple and clean.

  4. And there was much rejoicing…Yeah!!!!

    Great move on Google’s part. Craig & Vincent have done a phenomenal job of tying everything together and serving up a solid product. Google’s reach and dark fiber capacity makes this a move to watch.

  5. Yes, good for Google but troubling for GC customers. In addition to datamining call data it would seem likely that this would give Google direct or indirect access to personally identifiable information (PII) about GC customers. Once Google correlates PII with a cookie or static/sticky IP address or tool GUID it has the name, address, yadda to go with all the other info they’ve gathered and correlated with said.

    IIRC, in a recent article a spokesperson suggested that it is Google’s goal to acquire enough hyper detailed information about people that it could answer questions such as “what should I do tomorrow”. I suspect a large percentage of GC customers, like a large percentage of net users in general, would prefer they be subjected to less of that sort of thing rather than more.

    As Google proceeds with acquisitions and expands into other mediums and real world space it becomes increasingly difficult for people to avoid being subjected to their data gathering and profiling efforts.

  6. techuntangled

    When you think about it, this makes sense for Google (not considering the financials/RoI here). It gives them an instantaneous telephony platform that compliements Gmail and GTalk. 4 things that Google could do with GrandCentral:
    1) Connect to the PSTN
    2) Collect user information
    3) Data-mine voicemails and recorded calls for ever for advertising and user profiling.
    4) Call from a web Page.

    Read the whole thing at

  7. I like GrandCentral a lot. It’s both cool and useful. The buy gives Google the ability to offer fully integrated messaging without the purchase of a server. Telephone equipment providers are crying in their beer. (Something they started years ago.)

  8. @markus doesn’t understand what GC offers. Go have a look at the website. It’s not (just) a forwarding service. Actually, forwarding really isn’t involved.

  9. GrandCentral seems boring to me, nothing special.

    I get the same service from Sipgate. They also give “one number for life” that has already moved between many ISPs with me. But Sipgate gives this number for free and they give it here in Europe, where I need it. Callforward to other phone / mobile phone included.

    From Sipgate you can even get a flatrate to call all Europe for just 8,90 Euro a month. Why pay $15/month to GrandCentral for a “full-featured account” that in fact serves only to receive calls? No outbound calls included.

    I don’t see the point of GrandCentral. But I know that Google has very much dark fiber capacities and that it’s they start the cool phone services we are expecting yet for years.