Google is oddly silent about Grand Central

Google is oddly silent about Grand Central

Summary: Google is being very quiet about Grand Central, the virtual phone service it acquired in July 2007 but hasn't really done anything with since. In my opinion, Grand Central is already a good service.

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Google is being very quiet about Grand Central, the virtual phone service it acquired in July 2007 but hasn't really done anything with since. In my opinion, Grand Central is already a good service. There are a few features I'd like to see added but, for the most part, it's working for me - so much so that, in a blog post a couple of weeks ago, I called it my favorite telecommuting tool.

grand centralNaturally, some readers went to the site to learn more and sign up. But it turns out Google has closed the service to new registrations and has no details on the site about what's going on or when the service will re-open. I shot off a note to Google to request an update but the best I got was a pretty non-revealing answer: "As you may know, we acquired GrandCentral in the summer of 2007.  Since then, the team has been hard at work migrating GrandCentral over to Google's infrastructure, which is why the service is now in a closed beta test."

Hmmm. That's a frustrating and kind of secretive answer. Now, I really want to know what Google has planned for this service - and apparently I'm not alone. A couple of other blogs, one as recent as this month, also have asked what's going on with Grand Central. But there are no answers to our questions.

That's unfortunate because Grand Central has strong potential to be an even better service - especially when you consider how "open" Google was with Android. With so much talk about the economic uncertainty, I'd hate to see Grand Central's future get shelved because of cutbacks. It could be that Google has had so many other things going on - Android, Chrome, Apps, Mobile, StreetView and, of course, the ad business - that Grand Central ended up being more like a hobby for Google, like the way Steve Jobs feels about AppleTV. Even better, I'd love to hear that Google is planning a major announcement around Grand Central - but that clearly isn't the case yet.

I hope Google doesn't sit too long. There are other products out there in this space. Phone Fusion, for example, kicks it up a notch by offering fax and email capabilities, as well as virtual receptionist services for small businesses. Unlike Grand Central, Phone Fusion charges monthly subscription fees that start at $9.95.

Topics: Collaboration, CXO, Google, Telcos, IT Employment

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11 comments
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  • Android and grand central

    Grand central probably made sense when google was in the mode of becoming a wireless carrier (it had applied for frequencies and stuff).

    Now that its strategy seems to be the OS provider for cellphone's and not get into the carrier business grand central does not make a lot sense.

    Besides the approach of giving free phone numbers will not scale and they will have to find a way of charging back.
    njuneja
    • Android and grandcentral

      I'd be glad to pay. but silence is unacceptable. Kill it or grow it.
      Michael S Wilde
  • RE: Google is oddly silent about Grand Central

    Google could rule the telecom world with Grand Central. Maybe they get it, maybe they don't but, in the right hands (and minds) Grand Central is a category killer!
    jettitus@...
  • RE: Google is oddly silent about Grand Central

    I am wicked irritated with the lack of communication that Google/GrandCentral has had with their user community. I love GrandCentral but jeeeze, is there even a single developer working on it.. is there any plan?
    Michael S Wilde
  • RE: Google is oddly silent about Grand Central

    I agree, I like the service. It works fine and has plenty of features. Wonder why they don't just open the thing up. Did they forget about it?
    techgolem
  • RE: Google is oddly silent about Grand Central

    I agree, it works great for me. It has enough features. Why don't they just open it up and start making some dough from it. Did Google forget about it amongst their empire?
    techgolem
  • RE: Google is oddly silent about Grand Central

    Look at how many comments my blog post offering Grand Central invitations got...

    http://www.lucafiligheddu.com/2007/07/grandcentral-invitations-available.html

    It's crazy, but I know for sure there is a lot of work going on behind GrandCentral.
    filosnet
    • Do tell...

      It sounds like you may be privy to some more info. Please, do tell - or at least shoot me an email so I can do some deeper digging...
      SamDiaz
  • RE: Google is oddly silent about Grand Central

    Slate did an article a couple of months ago about the "Google black hole" - Google acquires companies created by smart people and slowly the smart people drift off to other projects, leaving the old companies abandoned or in perpetual "beta." GrandCentral is briefly mentioned, although they apparently couldn't find out anything new about it either. More info: http://www.bruceb.com/news/2008_08_01_archive.html#4515375950733630146
    Valisystem
  • RE: Google is oddly silent about Grand Central

    What is it about Grand Central that is so amazing? There are new products/competitors on the scene now - did Grand Central have something that these competitors are lacking?

    Darlene
    seomontreal
  • RE: Google is oddly silent about Grand Central

    Hi, I just published a post on what features Google should add to the next version of GrandCentral.

    Please take my survey so we can potentially help shape version 2.0.

    Thanks,
    Josh

    http://www.nooozeguy.com/grandcentral-2-0-features/
    nooozeguy