Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Grand Central - Love the Idea, But Does it Matter?

I've been using Grand Central for about 6 months. And in general, I really like the idea - it's a great application that gives users more control over their phone calls. It gives people a free phone number that can be kept forever. Users can control which phone will ring when someone calls me (like work, cell, or home), screen callers more efficiently, greet people differently, or manage voicemail online.

They recently released a feature where you can embed a widget to let people call your Grand Central number from a web page, which works just like Google's old "Click to Call" idea. Mine's on the right - go ahead, try it! That's great stuff, because it lets you connect your Internet world with your real world, and control how. For example, any call placed through my widget will go straight to voicemail as I experiment with it.

Generally, this kind of control is exactly what I would want. So why haven't I really used it? It's still harder to use than the current system:

  • I can get my normal voicemail with my normal voicemail
  • Won't work with my phone system at work (it's ancient and I have an extension)
  • I have to press (1) once I answer the phone when receiving a Grand Central call
  • Difficult syncing process from my phone to the Grand Central address book
So Grand Central doesn't really save me time or money in any way. It just gives me more control - and as someone who doesn't really need the extra control, how important is it? I really hope that Google can find a clever way to integrate Grand Central with its excellent Mobile Apps package. That could be the tipping point, at least for me.

Grand Central, Around the Web:


ThomasHan said...


Thanks for this write-up and to hear about your experience with Grand Central.

I myself only signed up last week when it went public. I haven't seen any benefit yet. But it helped a lot to read what your experience is so far.

Guess I'll hold back on putting that "Call Me" button on my site for a while...


Anonymous said...

Grand Central has been great for me. I wanted to have a "local" Colorado phone number for my business even though I lived out of state. I have it ring to my cell and home phones. I travel regularly so having it ring to my cell is important - but my cell phone reception in my home is weak, so I'd rather answer the land line there. I've used it for almost a year now.