GrandCentral pulls into Google


Custom ringtones are first victim of the deal, according to FAQ on GC website:

Q: GrandCentral users have been able to upload sound files for their own ring back tones. Will this feature continue to be offered?

A. GrandCentral users will be able to choose from a selection of licensed sound files made available within the GrandCentral service, but will not be able to upload their own files.

Google, continuing its start-up gobbling ways has acquired GrandCentral, the company announced today. This rumor did the rounds last month. While they are not talking dollars just yet, we are told the Minor Ventures-backed company fetched north of $50 million. The company had raised about $4 million in funding.

We think GrandCentral’s technology fits well into Google’s efforts to provide services that enhance the collaborative exchange of information between our users.

Roughly translated into English, Google plans to integrate GrandCentral with its existing communications offering Google Talk. Some believe that this could be start of Google’s attempt to marry one e-mail box with one voice mailbox. Of course, when viewed from the context of their small and medium sized business offerings, it could be a PBX replacement offering.

While GrandCentral is a good utility, there is something about Google having access to my phone records, and voice samples is one that gives me a twinge. It is something Josh Kopelman, an investor in 1-800-FREE411, had raised some of these issues in one of his posts about Google 411’s privacy policy.


Phillip Dampier

No more new customers are being accepted without an invitation from the service or, presumably, an existing user. Google likes to do closed betas to gin up the excitement I guess.

Tony Cecala

Of course, the long-term strategy is Click-to-Call for AdWords. Connecting the consumer and the advertiser has always been Google’s revenue sweet spot.

Matt G

The removal of personalized ringtones isn’t surprising, although I wish it was simply a banning of commercial recordings. I’d love to be able to upload my own home made ringtones.

Nice call on the rumor, Om. I signed up before the acquisition and I’m glad I don’t have to try to get an invite now.


Om, I read the Josh K. article. Seems like sour grapes to me…. Google has access to EVERYTHING you do online – get used to it. Just like MS of yesteryears, startups need to figure out a better value proposition to beat the giant, not complain about privacy. Privacy and other valid concerns need to be handled by the right forums (ACLU anyone?) and business needs to be earned by great products and customer service.

Marshall Kirkpatrick

Privacy seems like the level to attack Google from if you’re a competitor in any market. Imagine what a game changer it would be if Google gave meaningful support to OpenID, and favored in particular an OpenID system that afforded multiple personas for maximum privacy.

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