I’m not surprised to read that Google acquired GrandCentral. GrandCentral provides a single phone number that will reach you anywhere, and a single voice mail box to go with it. I haven’t used GrandCentral, but I did use a similar service from CallWave right up until my iPhone was activated. (I wonder who’s going to buy them?)
I think that companies like these represent one front on the assault on telcos and their customer-hostile policies. The first front is voice over IP. I have Time-Warner digital phone instead of a regular phone line. It saves me quite a bit of money on my phone bill, and the service is just as good as the rotten service I used to get from BellSouth.
The second is the iPhone. As many analysts are saying, Apple has siezed some power from the cellular carriers. That’s a good thing. Surely Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and the other handset makers are going to demand the opportunity to innovate, and the carriers are going to have to grant it or the iPhone will eat their lunch.
GrandCentral and CallWave provide a way around some of the other telco stupidity that we all put up with. As far as the telcos are concerned, voice mail has hardly advanced in the past 20 years. CallWave’s service is an incredible improvement over plain old voice mail. When someone leaves you a voice mail you get a text message that contains actual information about the call, plus an email that provides a link to your voice mail so that you can listen to it on your computer. They’ve recently launched a voice mail to text service that converts the content of your voice mail to text and sends it to your phone. GrandCentral provides even more services, plus the single phone number that liberates you from all of the other phone numbers that you rent from the phone company.
It’s no surprise that Google is jumping into this market. Smart companies are seeing that the world of telephony is ripe for revolution.