Pulling Into GrandCentral…

A while back I heard about this new service, GrandCentral that allowed you to have a single phone number that would forward to several phones. We already had similar functionality since we use Vonage for our home phone service but I’m forever testing things and so I signed up. I used the number a little but was basically having it forwarded to my cell since a key feature was missing to make it a true help for me – more on that later. Now nearly a year later, Google has bought up the little company and it’s all the buzz. Yes, it seems to be a perpetual beta software but it really does shine.

The interface is outstanding. It’s got quite a bit of Flash so I can’t imagine it would score well in accessibility but it does provide for an intuitive navigation. The site is well laid out and does a good job of providing the things that I needed, like help and FAQ, without making me work to hard to find stuff (MSDN, I’m looking at you). It has the ability to import contacts from CSV files so that you’re not having to re-type your entire address book – a non-starter in my book.

The big gripe was that it doesn’t handle extensions. For most people, like myself, this makes it useless on the office phone. Aside from my cell, that’s the phone I use the most so it really made this a forwarding number for my cell. Given cell number portability, that really doesn’t provide me as much value as I would have hoped. A few of the features that I did find really cool and valuable were the custom routing/ringing based on which group the caller belongs to, call switch that allows you to pass the call between registered phones, and having voicemail sent via email. So overall, I would say the positives far outweigh the negatives. I have a few invitations left so if you’re interested, post a comment and I’ll get you an invite.

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5 Responses to Pulling Into GrandCentral…

  1. Ghosty says:

    My boss actually uses this, as he is always between Baltimore / the car / Washington DC and never really knows where he might have to show up come moment to moment. The problem with extensions didn’t apply since it’s a small office, and the distinctive ring keeps managers and other people (ahem) from grabbing the phone when it’s a private call for the boss.

    Ahh, don’t send me an invite. I don’t even have a cell; I’m the anti-boss in this arena. I like the peace and quiet that comes from people not being able to find me. 😉

  2. Heather says:

    Awesome review, I’ve been considering grandcentral especially since my boss offered me an invite. Right now I’m using Youmail, I’d love to hear your thoughts on that service if you’ve tried it.

  3. rosscraig says:

    I like the feature that you can block certain numbers from ever reaching your real number. Also great for call screening. It would be nice if they had some Canadian phone numbers available.

  4. Wakela Runen says:

    I have GrandCentral, but I wasn’t able to get the call switch feature to work. I have numerous numbers registered: home, cell, skype, and work. I was on my cell and the battery was dying. I got home and wanted to try switching the call from my cell to my home phone, but it didn’t work. I am still not sure what I actually did wrong or if there was something that I needed to do in order to activate this feature.

  5. JonZenor says:

    I have been using YouMail for about 3 or 4 days now, but I love it. I just got my invite for Grand Central so I have been playing around with that. The two services have different goals, so you can’t really compare them easily to find which one is better.

    YouMail is great for customized greetings, with a huge library and lots of options.

    Grand Central doesn’t have a library of voicemails, you have to record your own, and you can’t make your own custom groups (yet). But you can get a single number that ties all your others together.

    So if you just want an awesome voicemail, checkout YouMail.com, otherwise go with Grand Central. I wrote about both of these recently in depth in my blog if anybody is interested. http://MakingDisciples.EternalTruthMinistry.com

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